Episode 108 - Your Inner Thermostat
The Thursday Thesis - 19/07/2018
Deep, deep down inside of you and I there is a something resembling a thermostat.
It’s just like the thermostat which governs your hot water, central heating or air conditioning. It’s the thermostat which governs us: I call it an “Innerstat”.
Now, a household thermostat is a device which responds to changes in temperature (thermo) and produces a response from an attached system – say, a heater or fan unit – to restore and stabilise (static) the temperature to a pre-determined value.
Thermostats are marvellous domestic gadgets, taking care of the tedious business of maintaining a stable temperature at whatever comfort level we dial-in: that’s what they are for.
But our Innerstats – our internal “thermostats” - are perhaps not such a great idea. They are trying to keep us the same as we are: to resist change and challenge.
This means that we will have our innerstats set for comfortable levels of health, wealth, confidence, performance, intimacy – pretty much every aspect of how we behave. And that’s the problem: every time we act in a way which is outside of the acceptable limits of our Innerstat, our Innerstat will initiate a response to restore us to our default, pre-set value or level of performance.
This is a double-edged sword
So, if we receive a bonus or an unexpected windfall that moves us outside of our acceptable level of wealth or income, the chances are that we’ll immediately figure out ways to be rid of the money. Maybe we’ll splash out on a new car, jewellery, a bigger home – it doesn’t matter, really.
We probably won’t even notice the peculiar compulsion to blow the money: it just seems that the money “burns a hole in your pocket”.
That compulsion is our instinctive response to something which is badly out of whack: it’s a drive to stay the same, to operate within our comfort zone and stay true to our concept of who we are.
Out Innerstats are setting us up to sabotage ourselves, just so we can stay true to our own opinions of ourselves.
How mad is that?
If we don’t manage our Innerstats, they will manage us: and they’ll do it all without us even noticing what’s going on, just below the threshold of our attention.
Whether you are operating above or below your default values for anything, the outcome will be behaviour designed to restore what you think is right and proper for you. If what you have is “too good”, you may begin to sabotage your situation in order to restore normality: if what you have “isn’t good enough”, you’ll probably begin to scramble frantically to restore order and your idea of what is acceptable.
Putting on too much weight and wanting to start dieting or working-out is an obvious example of this phenomenon.
We can manage our Innerstats, but it takes a little time to determine their initial settings and a little more time to make repeated adjustments to those settings.
Money is a good example of how this works. Let’s say that you earn £25,000 per year and begin to look for another job. Research indicates that you’ll tend to apply only for the jobs whose salary is around 10% of your current salary, and that you’ll be deterred from applying for positions whose salary is outside of that range, even if you are a good fit for the job with the big salary increase.
Small changes of around +/- 10% are not significant enough to trigger our Innerstats and initiate sabotage or scrambling behaviours.
If our sub-10% change is positive, that’s very good news, because the new higher value will become our new normal, over time.
It’s just like edging your heating’s thermostat up half a degree at regular intervals.
The easiest way to edge up your Innerstats’ settings is by deliberately thinking of what you want, and making those thoughts your new “normal”, or default, settings.
You see, our brains have a lot of trouble distinguishing between imagination and reality (there’s no such thing as reality, by the way), and this is a loophole that we can exploit in order to manipulate ourselves.
Is it wrong to manipulate ourselves?
Absolutely not – and best of all, it’s ridiculously easy.
Just write down what you want – in detail – on a card that you carry in your wallet or purse, and place it so that it is visible every time you pay for something.
So, if you want to raise your income from £25k to £40k, write “I earn and deseve £40,000 per year, after tax”; for your other desires, write a similar statement of fact, in the present tense. Then, read the statements on your card out aloud at least twice a day.
When I'm teaching guitar or working with coaching clients and mentees, we spend time re-calibrating their Innerstats for playing guitar, business success and positive mindset, because it's obvious that a negatively maladjusted Innerstat will slow progress and sabotage success.
I think you’ll agree that it’s perfectly legit to manipulate ourselves in pursuit of a worthy goal, such as a better life or higher income, deeper relationships, etc. And we would probably also agree that it’s dead wrong to manipulate someone else to conform to your will, in opposition to their own best interests.
So, get busy manipulating and influencing you Innerstats to re-calibrate what you’ll settle for and have in your life.
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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