You are reading the archives for June 2011.

Thermometer or a thermostat?

ARE YOU A THERMOMETER … OR A THERMOSTAT?

In most every office, home and business you can easily find that small, yet familiar, unit that hangs on the wall as it determines our level of comfort. Within this apparatus you’ll find two critical components—a thermometer and a thermostat.

ThermometerWhen you stop and think about it, we can be very much like either of those components. Which one are you? Think about it—a thermometer measures the temperature. A thermostat changes the temperature. One tells about the conditions surrounding it while the other makes a difference in those conditions in the environment where it is located.

Isn’t that very much like the choices we face day in and day out? Upon further examination, you must admit that just about anyone can describe a situation or complain about a problem. In fact, a lot of people do just that on a regular basis. Let’s be honest, it’s not too difficult to be a thermometer.

However, in our role as leaders at any level, it’s our responsibility to make a difference in the atmosphere in which we exist. We’re expected to be condition changers—we’re thermostats … not thermometers!

Your family, friends and associates appreciate someone who is under control, who doesn’t succumb to stress, who’s steady and reliable. Those thermostat people are rare—and valuable.

ThermostatsIt takes courage to make the move from a thermometer to a thermostat—one who has the inner power to set a new direction. Perhaps, the greatest challenge that you will ever face is developing the courage that brings you an unshakable self-confidence. Fortunately, developing courage can be learned and even enhanced—it just takes practice.

Strive constantly to develop and strengthen two habits which will serve you well in your quest for success:

Habit 1:
Perhaps, the most important kind of courage is the courage to begin, to launch, to take that initial step toward your goal. The future belongs to the risk takers, not the security seekers. The more you seek opportunity, the more likely you will achieve the security you desire. Plan and prepare thoroughly in advance. Be proactive. Set clear goals and objectives, and then gather information. Read and research your chosen field of endeavor.

Habit 2:
Develop the courage to endure, to persist, to stay at it once you have begun, no matter what. Plan your work and work your plan. Hang in there even in the face of disappointment and unexpected short-term setbacks. Tenacity is a tremendous attribute.

So which will you be … a Thermostat or Thermometer? The choice is yours to make. Choose wisely.

 

The Big Mouth Fox

Penguin, Reindeer and Fox were great friends. One day, Penguin and Reindeer found a load of fruit, and decided to keep it a secret. On the way, they met Fox, who seeing them so happy, asked them why. They told him they couldn’t say, because it was a secret, but Fox asked them to trust him, so they told him about the fruit.

When they arrived at the village, Fox forgot about his promise, and told everyone. When Penguin and Reindeer returned to the place where they had found the fruit, the animals of the village had already been there and eaten it all.

That same day, Penguin and Reindeer found another place full of food, and the same thing happened again with Fox. Angered by these betrayals, they decided to teach Fox a lesson. The next day they told Fox that they had found a lake so full of fish that no effort was needed to catch them. Fox again told everyone in the village about this. The next day, Fox came by, covered in cuts and bruises. After telling all the animals about the lake full of fish, everyone, including even the polar bears, had gone there. But, not finding anything, they felt deceived, and had given Fox a good beating.

Fox learned that keeping people’s trust is very important, and that to get it in the first place you have to earn it with loyalty and always keeping your word.

Penguin and Reindeer devised another trick for Fox but, as he was no longer a bigmouth, he did not betray them, and Penguin and Reindeer regained their faith in Fox, thus forgiving him.

Moral: A fox asks his friends to trust him. He betrays that trust so they teach him a lesson.
Author.. Pedro Pablo Sacristán

 

Two Buildings

Once upon a time all the spirits set about building two palaces; a palace of truth, and a palace of lies. Every time a child told the truth, a brick was created for the palace of truth. The spirits of truth would then take it and add it to the growing walls.

In just the same way was the palace of lies built. Each brick was created when a child told a lie. Both palaces were impressive – the best in the world – and each group of spirits worked hard to try to make sure that their own palace was the best. So much so that the lying spirits, who were much more tricky and deceitful, sent a group of spirits to the world to get children to tell more and more lies. These spirits were successful, and started getting many more bricks. As a result, their palace became bigger and more spectacular.

But one day, something strange happened in the palace of lies. One of the bricks turned into a cardboard box. A little later another brick turned into sand, and then another turned into glass, and smashed. And so, little by little, it became clear that whenever a lie was discovered, the brick that it had created changed its form, was crushed, and finally disappeared. In this way, the palace of lies became weaker and weaker, and in the end it completely fell to pieces.

At this, everyone, including the lying spirits, understood that you cannot use lies for anything. They are never what they appear to be, and so you never know what they will turn into.

Moral: Imaginative comparison to explain why you cannot achieve anything worthwhile with lies because, sooner or later, the truth will come out and the whole structure collapses. Also applies to adults! 🙂
Author.. Pedro Pablo Sacristán

 

The Slave and the Lion

 

Aesop

A slave escaped and sought refuge in the wilderness, where he hid in a cave, which happened to be a lion’s lair. When the lion returned the shocked slave expected the worst, but the lion meekly offered him an injured paw. The slave removed a thorn, and the lion and he became great friends, sharing the cave for some while. After a time the slave longed to return to society and bade the lion farewell. When he entered the town he was recognised and thrown in jail, and his master decided to make a public example of him by throwing him to the wild animals in the arena. On the fateful day the slave was cast among the beasts, including one enormous fierce lion. The lion approached the petrified slave, and the spectators gasped – but the lion quietly lay down at the slave’s feet. It was his lion friend from the cave. The audience demanded clemency for such a show of loyalty and the governor duly gave them both their freedom.

Moral: Good deeds are rewarded.

 

The Bee and Jupiter

Aesop

A queen bee flew up to mount Olympus with fresh honey for the God Jupiter, who was so pleased that he granted the bee a wish for anything it desired. The queen bee asked for all bees to be given stings, to kill the people who took their honey. Jupiter gave the bees their stings, but as he loved mankind and was not pleased at this request, he made the bee sting so that when used, it killed the bee.

Moral: Evil wishes rebound

Mercury and the woodsman

Aesop

A woodman lost his axe into the river when it glanced off a tree he was felling. Mercury (the God) appeared while the man was lamenting his loss, and on hearing his tale dived into the river, and recovered a golden axe. “That’s not mine,” said the woodman, so Mercury returned it to the river, resurfacing this time with a silver axe. “That’s not mine,” again said the woodman, and again Mercury returned it to the river, resurfacing this time with the woodman’s own axe. “That’s mine,” said the grateful woodman. Mercury promptly rewarded the man for his honesty by giving him the golden and silver axes as well. On hearing the woodman’s tale, an envious friend set out to do as the woodman had done, visiting the same spot and deliberately losing his axe in the river. Just as before, Mercury appeared and dived in to recover the lost axe. When Mercury produced a golden axe, the man greedily stretched out for it claiming, “That’s mine.” Mercury, not best pleased with the man’s dishonesty, held on to the golden axe, and refused to recover the original.

Moral: Honesty is the best policy

The Belly and the Members

Aesop

the belly and the members (also known as quarrel between the body parts)

One day the various parts (Aesop says ‘members’) of the human body, including the brain, arms, legs, eyes, feet, hands, lungs, etc., got together to discuss the body’s belly and what they thought about its contribution to the group efforts on behalf of the body. The body parts were all unhappy and resentful for various reasons, and chose to target their collective anxieties at the belly, in a rather bullying way. The unhappy body parts decided that the belly was not doing enough towards maintaining the body’s operations, and accused the belly of spending its time lazily consuming food and allowing other members to do all the work. “We have decided that we will no longer do what we need to do in order to feed you,” they said to the belly, “Because you do nothing to help us, and you are lazy and unproductive.” And they stopped feeding the belly. The belly soon starved. But then so did the body and all of its parts starve too. The unhappy body parts now realized – too late unfortunately to save themselves and the body – that although the belly seemed to be doing nothing, it had in fact been fulfilling a vital function necessary for the wellbeing of the body and all of its parts.

Moral: Often group efforts include certain members whose contributions may seem inconsequential or less valuable than others, and whose behaviors may seem different and less worthy than other louder more obvious contributors, but it is not generally such a simple matter. Group dynamics are complex, and it is easy to misinterpret and undervalue other members’ efforts when we do not understand the entire situation, and particularly when we do not understand how individual members might be crucial to overall teamwork and results. When we target and victimize group members we weaken the group, and all of its members.