Dare to Live Without Limits

Bryan Golden

Looking up, not down, offers us many benefits

We developed the habit of looking down as young children when we were upset, angry, embarrassed, frustrated, or dejected. We stared at the ground as we walked around sulking. We were withdrawn and unresponsive. We used this behavior as an escape rather than trying to remedy a situation.
This early conditioning influences your behavior throughout life. It becomes a default response to dealing with adversity. Even though this approach is devoid of any positive results, it’s used repeatedly.
When faced with challenges or problems, where you look, figuratively and literally, makes a big difference. People with hope, determination, and drive look up to the future. Those who have given up, are down trodden, or believe there is no solution, constantly look down.
Just as smiling causes you to feel better, looking up also improves your emotional state. Your physical and mental states are interconnected. Positive body language sparks positive emotions. So, acting better leads to you feeling better.
Even without the negative emotional connection, looking down adversely impacts your wellbeing. For example, observe people who are constantly looking down at their phone while walking. They are prone to tripping, falling, walking into objects or traffic. These people suffer easily avoidable injuries.
Looking down is dangerous. You won’t see potential hazards. Looking down blocks the world around you. You are less likely to see and hear what’s going on. You are much more accident prone when staring at the ground.
People searching for answers tend to look up. Ask someone a question and watch their eyes shift upward. Conversely, people look down when trying to avoid dealing with a problem. Knowing this, you can intentionally look up when confronting an obstacle.
Looking up provides an awareness of what lies ahead. Unexpected situations arise. Circumstances change without warning. Dealing with adversity is challenging enough when you are paying attention. When you are looking down, you’ll be blindsided due to your inattention.
It's just like driving a car. Paying attention to the road ahead provides the ability to safely take corrective action to avoid having an accident. The farther down the road you are looking, the more warning you’ll have. Drivers who focus their attention to something in the car are much more prone to a mishap. That’s why distracted driving is so hazardous.
Looking up should be a way of life during both good times and challenging times. Whenever you find yourself looking down, pick up your head. Don’t shy away from problems. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. In fact, uncorrected problems tend to get worse.
Looking up enables you to evaluate various scenarios. This type of projection is in fact mental modeling. You get to run through various strategies and their possible outcomes. The more you analyze your options before acting, the greater the chances for making the right decision.
Looking up let’s you know whether you are on your chosen path. You are able to observe changes in circumstances. You are also in touch with changes within yourself which necessitate a change in direction.
The situational awareness you gain by looking up permits you to plan for what is up ahead. You can take advantage of new opportunities which appear, while resolving problems before they become unmanageable.
Take responsibility for your life by looking up. Looking down is a woe is me victim mentality which cries for attention. It’s your life. Do more of what makes you happy. Eliminate those actions which create problems.
Maintain self-awareness. Be cognizant of where you are looking. As soon as you catch yourself looking down, look right back up instead.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2021 Bryan Golden


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