This mental model helps us identify and better understand our emotional presence. It’s been one of the most impactful tools in my continuous practice of self awareness. It’s also extremely simple to comprehend and implement.

In any given situation we are operating from above or below the line.

Above the Line

This is a state of curiosity where you are open minded. In this state you are committed to learning.

When you are above the line you are the creator of your well-being. You believe there are always more than two possibilities. You are operating from an abundance mindset (enough) where this is always a choice.

Below the Line

This is a state of reactivity where you are close minded. In this state you are committed to being right.

When you are below the line you think being right is the most important thing. You believe there is always a right or wrong way. You are operating from a scarcity mindset (not enough) where there is no choice.

  • Most of us jump above and below the line all day long. We can be above the line one minute, and then sink deep below the line by a simple event. Very few of us operate from above the line most of the time.
  • And in all fairness, it’s hard to stay above the line. It’s also perfectly okay. We’re only human. It’s easy for our emotions to kick in and use our animal-like defense mechanisms. We are reactive creatures by nature.
  • The point of this mental model is locating yourself (awareness). In other words, being aware of whether you’re above or below the line. It’s not good or bad to be above or below the line. That’s not the point.
  • However, as we become more aware of how we’re operating (above or below the line), we can attempt to stay above the line more often. We can operate from a place of curiosity and growth, instead of always operating from a place of fear and reactivity.

This resource was inspired by original knowledge and insight from the Conscious Leadership Group. We improvise/share their content with deep gratitude and attribution.