Last week, we set the stage for Above the Line thinking. Please check it out if you missed that post. This week, we’ll peel back the layers to a type of thinking that’s prevalent and causes us to live Below the Line.
Imagine a blank sheet of paper. With a black marker, draw a line horizontally that divides the page in half. Would agree there are 2 spaces on the page? There’s the space Below the Line. And then there’s space Above the Line. So, what is Below the Line thinking? And why is it that we stay there so long?
Let me start by asking a question. On average, how many thoughts does the human mind have per day? Things like: Which way should I turn? Do I look good in this outfit? Why is she looking at me that way? On and on the list goes. Thought after thought after thought. And, sometimes, even in our dreams, the thoughts continue.
If you guessed 10,000…you’d be wrong. Even 30,000 is still wrong.
On average, the human mind processes around 60,000 thoughts per day. 60,000! Each one commanding our attention, clouding our mind space, demanding a decision. Of those 60,000 thoughts, any guesses how many of them are negative? Studies show that roughly 80% of them are negative…that’s 48,000 of your daily thoughts are spent in determining the worst outcome, the end of days, the worst-case scenario. 80% of your day is lived Below the Line. And 95% of those negative thoughts are on a constant replay loop. Know what I mean? We spend a lot of our time processing thoughts over and over and over again. In so doing, our brains tend to focus on the negative by a factor of 7 to 1. What! No wonder our attitudes are crap most of the day!
In the business of our brain, Beliefs filter and define our Thoughts which in turn create our Feelings which translate our energy and focus into Behavior. Our beliefs lead to our Mindset. Mindset is defined as an established set of attitudes held by the way you think.
Studies show that by the time your age 35, 95% of your beliefs are hard-wired in your mind. It’s hard to change the mind of an adult. And if 80% of those thoughts, which lead to your beliefs are spent in negativity…it’s no wonder that an astounding 70% of an adult’s day is spent in a stress-state. Fight this fire, deal with this issue, meet this deadline, try to make it to the next paycheck. All very important issues, yet these are the very issues, that if left to their own desires…will lead to our own demise. Our brains focus on problems, not the possibilities. And when we’re stressed, those thoughts are born out of negativity. And that negativity causes a life lived Below the Line. We focus on scarcity and fear. What you focus on, expands. It’s a downward spiral.
At its best, we’re living a sub-optimal life. At its worst, it leads to anxiety and outright depression.
And we suffer, day in and day out from Limiting Beliefs. Things like:
- Mistakes / failures are bad, therefore I am bad.
- I have to be ___________ to be ________.
- I’m not worthy of / don’t deserve __________.
- I’m not important or loved.
- I am not enough.
Yet, there’s light on the horizon. I’ve got great news for you! God made us in such a way as to be able to think about our thinking. Let’s pause there. Let that sink in. We have the ability…to think…about our thinking. Isn’t that awesome? We can change our minds. We can improve. Our beliefs about ourselves…about our self image can be altered…for the better. We can focus on the positive by a factor of 7 to 1. We can turn those 48,000 negative thoughts into optimistic ones.
Do you know why it’s important to understand the concept of thinking about our thinking? Think back to the blank page, which has a black line drawn across the middle. We’ve explored the space Below the Line. But, gentle reader, I’m here today to reveal to you that there’s another space. There’s a place we haven’t yet looked at.
There’s a place where abundant life can be lived.
There’s a space that optimal living can take place.
There’s a place where, if we choose to think about our thinking…to turn tragedy into triumph and stumbling blocks into stepping stones, that a positive life can be lived.
Gentle reader, there’s a place…Above the Line.
Check back next week as we explore that space, and ultimately how to get there from where you are today…and to stay there! Thanks for reading!