Ice Sinks

Ice Sinks

I’m up at 5,000 feet, soaring above the vast expanse of Alaska in the spring. A bluebird, CAVOK (ceiling and visibility okay) kind of day. Perfect for flying

I can see views in every direction. The Alaska Range behind us with Denali“The Great One,” the Talkeetnas, Sleeping Lady, the Tokositnas, Peters Hills, the Chugach and Cook Inlet all around us.

As I peer down, relaxing into the seat of this candy-apple red, 180 bush plane, I gaze at the shapes the glaciers had carved out of the land. I imagine this valley when they reigned in this wild place. The grooves they left now cradle ice-cold water. Lakes, rivers, and swamps full of wildlife.

“The ice looks like it will go out and sink to the bottom of the lakes in the next week or two,” I say.

Silence on the intercom.

I look at the pilot to make sure he isn’t sleeping. Nope. Not sleeping. But not speaking either.

“Say that again,” he says.

“The ice should go out on the lakes soon,” I say.

“No, the part about how it happens.”

“The ice melts around the shores because the darkness of the dirt attracts heat from the sun. Once it’s loose, the ice sinks to the bottom of the lake.”

“That’s what I thought you said.”

Nausea sets in. My cheeks get hot.

“You know, that’s the crazy thing about ice. It doesn’t sink,” he says after a long pause.

“Sure it does,” I say.

“Have you ever seen it?”

“Well, no. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen it for myself.”

“Yeah, it’s a fascinating thing about ice. It doesn’t sink. You’d think it would, but it doesn’t. Ice is less dense than water, so it floats to the top. Only smaller bodies of water freeze solid when the temps are cold enough. Think about ice cubes in a glass.”


Now I’m silent.

Let me be clear, I’m not an idiot. I have two college degrees, I’m well read, I had high marks in school and did well in English, math and science. I oversaw a technology and mapping department for several years. People promoted me for being smart. Yet, I’m just now realizing that I thought that large hunks of ice sank to the bottom of lakes when the ice “goes out” each spring. I feel ridiculous.

I don’t think anyone gave me misinformation; no one ever taught me that ice sinks. It’s just what I’ve thought since I was a kid.

And this is one of the most important things I’ve learned on my career journey.

Test your thoughts to see if they are true.

Whether it's a scientific fact you think you know, a belief, a cultural norm or a perception, test everything you think. Ask yourself if it's true. Is it always true?

Ice sinks is a pretty simple thought to test; it's easy to prove right or wrong scientifically. But there are other thoughts that are deeper, darker, more dangerous and more important to test. You know the thoughts I mean. They race around in your head like a swarm of mosquitos.

“Work is supposed to suck.””

“I need to settle down and get a good job and stop wasting my life chasing my dream.”

“I don’t have what it takes.”

“You can’t love your work and make money.”

“I’m just a dreamer.”

...and my favorite…

“This is as good as it gets.”

Test your thoughts to see if they are true.

For one reason or another, we think what we think. How our thoughts arrive in our heads isn’t the important thing here. What is important is checking to make sure they are true and that they are helping us achieve our goals.

Some of what you think is true, but other thoughts are keeping you from your deepest desires. If your career plan is built on “this is as good as it gets,” you will inadvertently create a career for yourself that you don’t really like.

Sometimes, it’s embarrassing to realize that what you’ve thought all along isn’t true. I mean, ice sinking to the bottom of a lake? That’s embarrassing. At least now I can laugh about it. But we all have these goofy thoughts. Some are funny, some make you angry and some leave you hopeless. Last I checked, we have no record of anyone ever dying of embarrassment. Hopelessness on the other hand...

Are your thoughts about your career keeping you stuck in a job while you die inside not reaching for your dreams? It’s 100% normal.

AND You have the power to change it.

Testing your beliefs sets you on the path to your dream career. A career full of fulfillment, satisfaction and the ability to make an impact.

So go test your beliefs now. See if ice sinks…

[ Are you an adrenaline junkie ]

You’ll Be The Same Age Either Way

29 - The Year I Decided to Be Myself

Your Problem Isn't Technical