When looking at the thought and behaviour patterns of successful and unsuccessful individuals, you can see very clearly that there are common themes. The concept used to describe these behaviours is referred to as, ‘above the line’ and ‘below the line’ thinking.

Below the line thinkers always have excuses. They blame, justify and deny. They find faults and wait for others to fix things while they sit around complaining. Above the line people on the other hand take responsibility, take action and are solution focused. They feel the buck stops with them and they are proactive in their approach. I have never met a successful person who does not demonstrate above the line thinking and the converse is also true.

Is it natural to always be above the line in our thinking? No, it is a choice. Some days I wake up wanting to retreat into the woods and hide away. Other days I just simply do not feel like being adult, but in all these situations I make a choice to be above the line. I love Julius Irving quote:

“Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.” – Julius Irving

For any leaders or future leaders out there, this is a really great concept to adopt for your self-awareness and with your people. Often people are not aware we are below the line until it gets pointed out.

Above the Line – Thoughts and Behaviours
Takes responsibility, accountable, ideas, solutions, takes action, sees possibilities, owns the problem, hopeful, proactive, supportive, open, curious, wants to learn, listens deeply, lives a life of play.

Below the line – Thoughts and Behaviours
Blame, denial, justification, excuses, ignores, waits for others, finds faults, it’s not fair, do nothing, victim, reactive, complaining, closed, convinced they are right, believe there is not enough for everyone, believe there is a big threat out there, gossip.