Be a thermostat not a thermometer

Thoughts on how to change the temperature

Anton Nikolov
3 min readMar 29, 2021


Termometer and thermostat drawn by hand
Drawing by Anton Nikolov

When you put many thermometers in a hot room the temperature won’t change. They will show the temperature as it is and do nothing about it.

As human thermometers, we have the tendency to point out how the temperature changes until it reaches the melting/freezing point. It is the path of least resistance especially when we are waiting for someone else to do something about it.

The uncomfortable temperature can be improved if only someone makes the effort. That someone can take what we are pointing out and do something about it. Yet, very few act to bring the change to realization. It is easier to sit and sweat than to build a heating/cooling solution to solve the issue at hand.

Humans have the tendency to procrastinate and that is absolutely fine. It is a great evolutionary mechanism for conserving mental and physical energy. It prompts us to avoid tasks we don’t see as a priority or are too difficult to execute. We usually like to say: “It can wait a bit, let’s put it on the backlog and come back to it later”.

It is important to say that avoiding procrastination is also not the solution. The more you try to avoid something, the more it will be in your mind. Thus making it very challenging to change the direction of your thinking.

I think that underlining principle of avoidance turns people into thermometers. It gets them into the loop of only pointing out the problems all the time. It keeps the attention on the hot/cold temperature we would like to escape from and not on what to do to change it.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit, I’ve also acted many times as a thermometer. I’ve been pointing out things that are not good and what need changing and then have waited for them to change.

But a thermometer can only point out the temperature. Until someone with a thermostat attitude starts changing the temperature. Someone that won’t focus only on measuring but also on acting.

It can be you, me, or some one. All it takes is one person with the right perspective and at least single action after the temperature is measured.



Anton Nikolov

Searching for pragmatic balance in life. Writing about UX Design, Health and Family-development with the aim to learn and inspire. Parent of 1 lovely girl.