Above the Line

 In Blog

Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.  -Yogi Berra.

That lovable baseball sage may have been on to something. Let’s say your show is clicking on all cylinders with an engaging interactive storytelling topic with listeners. Your mood is euphoric; you’re in the zone and then suddenly your phone system goes down.

Immediate buzz kill. You react, “What the hell! Not now!!” Your euphoria turns to frustration or anger. You go from positive emotions (operating above the line) to negative emotions (operating below the line.)

What is the line? Esther and Jerry Hicks explain in their book Ask and It Is Given that your thoughts and circumstances trigger your emotions. But when you can keep your emotions above the line more often, life and work situations tend to go much better.

The Emotional Scale

Above the line:
Positive expectations

Below the line:

The 90-10 Rule proclaims that creative performance is 90% mental and 10% skill. The Navy Seals and psychologist in sports and the performing arts consider it a truth.

We have all been in the zone at times. It is those times when you are completely absorbed in an activity, particularly activities using your creative abilities.

In psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, he says, “During these experiences you feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious and at the peak of your abilities.”

I was not a fan of Taylor Swift. Then I saw her concert with my three daughters at the Staples Center in LA recently. She was above the line and totally in the moment during her entire show.

Not only was her singing and dancing performance flawless, she stopped briefly several times to connect with the audience. Taylor was encouraging to young women about how to handle mistakes and she shared her own life experiences. She was composed, mindful and articulate. 100% in the moment. Now I love Taylor Swift!

The University of Tennessee football team lost three games this season with a big lead deep into the fourth quarter. They were confident, passionate and creative until they started to play not to lose. They became cautious and doubtful and fell below the line.

When you find yourself falling below the line in your performance or in your personal life, choose a higher thought that will lead to a higher emotion. You may have to incrementally go up the scale to get back above the line.

Look at the emotional scale and you’ll see that even moving from fear to anger is an emotional improvement. Just keep choosing a higher thought and emotion until you get back above the line.

You can only perform at a peak and have enriching life experiences when you are operating above the line emotionally. It requires being mindful of your emotional state and consciously choosing higher thoughts and emotions. Practicing gratitude at the start of your day and at the beginning or your activities is the best way to stay above the line.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com/T-Bone Sandwich

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