Heard during the pre-Inauguration coverage of Barack Obama…”Be a thermostat, not a thermometer!”

A thermometer reflects the current temperature, whereas a thermostat is a controlling influence.   Great advice from Dr. Henry Louis Gates to Barack Obama, during the Refresh the World inaugural symposium, which was hosted by Howard University. 

This maxim resonates with me because it is an integral aspect of my character and personal brand.  This path is certainly not the easy route, but the returns are well worth the work. 

Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

Following are three (3) habits for living as a thermostat.  While the tips are taken from a career-oriented article by Joe Hodowanes, tips can be applied to life in general.

Habits 1: Perhaps, the most important kind of courage is the courage to begin, to launch, to step out in faith. The future belongs to the risk takers, not the security seekers.  Life is perverse in the sense that the more you seek security, the less you have.  But the more you seek opportunity, the more likely you will achieve the security you desire. One way to get the courage to become a thermostat, from which everything else flows, is to plan and prepare thoroughly in advance. Set clear goals and objectives, and then gather information. Read and research your chosen field of work. Write out detailed plans and then take the first step.

Habit 2: Develop the courage to endure, to persist, to stay at it once you have begun, no matter what. Persistence is a form of courageous patience, and it is one of the rarest forms of courage. Courageous patience is having the ability to stand firm after you have begun and before you get any feedback or results from your actions. Planning your work and working your plan and persisting, even in the face of disappointment and unexpected short-term setbacks, is not only a form of courage, but it also builds and develops the courage within you.

Habit 3: The last type of courage is the courage to conquer worry — a form of negative goal-setting. Worry is a sustained form of fear caused by indecision. Have the resolve to accept the worst, should it occur, and then think of everything that you could possibly do to make sure that the worse does not occur. Once you have resolved to accept the worst, you will be calm and capable of thinking productive thoughts.