Are You Acting Like a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

Goal: use the analogy to understand the difference between beliefs and mindset

Recently I was reading a book called Limitless by Jim Kwik. In it I heard an unusual analogy that is contained in the title of this article.

Let’s discuss the difference between these two.

How does a thermometer work? It usually involves a sensor that when placed inside a person’s mouth increases the reading until it matches the person’s temperature level.

The author analogy is that the thermometer is like a person’s beliefs. I can see that as being true. We all push ourselves until we reach our comfort level. At that point we get “comfortable” and stop challenging ourselves to do better.

The thermometer has a single function. To register the internal temperature. Our lives are reflection of our internal beliefs and the limitations we place on ourselves.

What about a thermostat?

A thermostat is a bit more complex than a thermometer. It also has a sensor which senses the temperature of the room in which it is placed. Unlike the thermometer, it also has a desired setting for what we deem comfortable. The gap is the difference between the desired and the actual temperatures.

If the gap is very small the thermostat takes no action. BUT if the the gap gets big enough the thermostat takes an action. The action is to send a command to a heater or air conditioner to turn on and eliminate the gap.

What does the gap change? The gap creates an action to change the environment to the desired temperature.

The author defines the thermostat as a person’s mindset.

Notice that the beliefs are internally driven while mindset is internally measured and externally driven. The person has to be aware of the internal limiting beliefs and change their environment in order to get to that ideal state.

The lesson is that we should focus on changing our environment in order for it to better support us toward our desired goals. We have to be aware of the limiting beliefs and the potential of being sabotaged by their pull. The more our environment aligns with our stretch goals the more likely we will succeed.

What is an example of this?

In the morning I want to go for a run. I notice that the temperature at the time of the run is too cold for me. This is a limiting belief. I can except it and simply skip the run.

Or I can act like a thermostat and once I sense that internal limiting belief, put my running shorts on and t-shirt. Go to sleep with them and place my shoes near my door. Once I get up in the morning and I am already dressed all I have to do is put my shoes on and run.

Powerful analogy… change the environment in order to increase the possibility to succeed at overcoming your limiting beliefs

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