By: D. A. Slinkard
It is that time of year when the temperature outside is constantly changing from starting out cool to turning warm to dipping back down into the cooler temperatures. I am thankful for my thermostat which I am able to adjust throughout the day to provide comfort to my family and me. I am reminded of when I was a kid and how my dad had an outside thermometer; he would keep records of the temperature on the calendar. He did this for his own personal record, especially when it came to his farming. This got me to thinking about life in general, and then I started comparing the thermometer to the thermostat, and then compared this to people in general.
Have you ever thought about whether the people in your life are either thermometers or thermostats? Take the thermometer for instance. A thermometer is a tool that tells you whether something is hot or cold. Other than performing this task, the thermometer really is not good for anything else. A lot of people are like this because they go about living their life like a thermometer — not good for much of anything. Then you have the thermostat. Oh, how I love the thermostat! In your home, if you are hot or cold, you must use the thermostat to adjust your heating and cooling system.
The thermostat has the ability to increase or decrease the temperature. The thermostat has the ability to heat up or freeze out a person. The thermostat is a driving force for action to occur. If your home is too hot, just touch the thermostat and before long you have adjustments coming to your living condition. There are people in your life that are a lot like the thermostat. These people are the leaders in society, the movers and the shakers if you will.
The problem in our society is that too many people want to be like the thermometer and do as little as possible. We have this mindset of people who want to do exactly what their job description is, nothing more, nothing less; but then they expect to be greatly rewarded for simply doing their job. We have created this mindset because for too long, we have been telling people that they are winners by rewarding them just for showing up and participating; this has trickled over into their adult lives. We live in a society in which people feel like they are owed something just because they showed up.
What do we do? How do we get more people to play the role of the thermostat and less people to be the thermometer? It starts in our homes. Parents have the responsibility and obligation to teach their kids how to be leaders and stop depending on others to raise their kids. I have worked in retail, and I have seen a lot of interactions between parents and their kids, and it is astonishing what some parents allow from their kids.
The next step is to eliminate all participation trophies. Just get rid of the idea completely. “It will never work,” some people say. How did we survive long ago before we started giving out trophies for coming in 27th place? Not everything is deserving of a trophy, and we need to stop rewarding every little thing. This has placed us in a situation where a thermometer looks good because you get a pretty ribbon. If we make changes in the home and do away with meaningless trophies, we will see a change in our society. You will find more thermostats turning up the heat on thermometers.
We need to be aggressive when it comes to how we are training future leaders. In fact, I believe we need to be more aggressive when it comes to our own lives. We need to understand that we hold the keys to our success and to our failures. We need to stop being okay with mediocrity and raise our level of expectations. We have become a society that is okay with just getting by, just doing enough to get by. We need to focus on turning that temperature up and taking control of our lives. The only way to do this is to become the thermostat and leave behind the thought process of being a mere thermometer. Why be a tool to tell if something is hot or cold when you can be the tool that actually determines the temperature of success in your life?
By: D. A. Slinkard
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