Thermostats And Thermometers

In Blog, Leadership, Mental Toughness
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I almost didn’t write this post, thinking too many people had already heard this analogy. If you’re one of them, skip this post if you like. I wrote it anyway because I know there is someone reading who hasn’t heard this before.

You know what a thermometer is: The device in your home or doctor’s office that takes the temperature. Thermometers tell you what’s going on, exactly as it is. A thermometer’s job is to see what’s going on and tell you about it. You may not always like the reading a thermometer gives. But you have to (at least grudgingly) respect its objectivity.

thermostats and thermometers

Thermostats are different. Thermostats have the reports of the thermometer in mind, but that’s just the start of a thermostat’s work. Thermostats go to work on the temperature of a room and set it to the number of its choosing. Thermostats make change happen as soon as they see things aren’t to their liking. Thermostats are always on alert for the readings of the thermometer. And as soon as something is off, thermostats go to work. No meetings or committees. No paralysis of analysis. Just decisive action.

[shareable cite=”@dreallday”]Thermostats make change happen as soon as they see things aren’t to their liking. [/shareable]

We as people, fall into one of these two categories of thermostats and thermometers. See whihc of these descriptions fits you best.


  • Bitch, whine and complain… and do nothing
  • Are consistent victims
  • Report the news, are never part of the news
  • See an opportunity or problem and take no action
  • Know exactly what should be done by someone, but doesn’t do it


  • Alter situations to their liking
  • Are proactive upon seeing opportunity
  • Initiate action
  • Give the observers something to talk about
  • Doesn’t ask for permission too often, just takes action
  • Gets complained about by thermometers

[reminder comment=”So, which are you: Thermostat or Thermometer? Leave it in the comments. “]