In the Habits of Health Transformational System, we often talk about the idea of playing above the line. If you aren’t familiar with this idea, here’s how it works:
Your mindset often falls into two broad categories. You either have an open, curious, growth-driven mindset, or you have a closed, defensive, “want to be right” mindset. If you find yourself mostly below the line–or in the closed defensive mindset, in other words–that’s a sign that you aren’t taking as much responsibility for your choices and your potential as you could.
Let me emphasize: It’s not your fault.
You are most likely still allowing your ancient brain to run the show, the Stone Age brain that thinks only of survival and operates mostly on automated instinct. You’re not alone if this is happening to you, and it does not make you a better or a worse person. It simply means you are operating your life at a mostly unconscious level.
Welcome to the human race!
Most people think the world should be a certain way, and that in itself is a recipe for anxiety, frustration, and for letting our thoughts become entrenched. We blame our surroundings, others, or ourselves for our current state. We become closed, defensive, and consumed with being right.
When we take responsibility for how we respond to the world and the people around us, we become agents of change that not only make this world a better place to live but we also clear away many of the largest obstacles that prevent us from reaching the healthiest versions of ourselves.
If you flip to page 100 of Your LifeBook, you can find an in-depth walkthrough of how to build this habit in your life, but for this particular blog post, let’s focus on starting to build awareness.
In order to play above the line consistently in your life, you first need to recognize when you are making a choice that could take you above or below the line. Since most of us are sleepwalking through life, we may not even realize that we are making these kinds of choices throughout our day.
Unfortunately, that means we might not realize that we played below the line until after we make a choice.
That’s okay! Reflecting on our choices is the first step toward building awareness for behaviors that might be automatic. At the end of the day, think back over the choices you made, and ask yourself if you went above or below the line in each of them. If you went below the line, visualize what you will do when that choice presents itself again.
From there, journal your thoughts and talk to your coach if you feel like you are struggling. This takes practice, but over time, you will start to see your choices more clearly and have the power to make the choice that moves you closer to optimal wellbeing.