Ice-berg analogies have got to be some of the most over-used analogies in the world of analogies. But I guess since these ice monstrosities are massive in size and strength, they can handle the general wear-and-tear in PowerPoints across the globe because a few days ago, at a very fancy goal-setting work-shop, I came across of it yet again.

Here’s the gist of it.  

Our actions and results are like the tip of the iceberg. People around us can measure our worth by the actions we take and results we achieve because these are the parts they can see.

All that is below the water, which is about 90%, is our mindset, philosophy, and beliefs. Whether we believe in ourselves (or not) is hidden below the surface holding up the tip. Thus, the invisible mindset is responsible for measurable success.

Clear as a piece of ice floating in the ocean, right?!

Or is it?

When it comes to what’s visible to others, can we really separate the mindset from the actions? Can you judge the tip without the berg?

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that results and mindset are more of a mix and not so much a linear order as suggested by the iceberg analogy.  

Our actions, and thus our results, are drenched in our mindset and beliefs.

Our thoughts leave a holographic footprint on everything we do and say. Whatever is going on in our minds is deeply embedded into our every word and act, and is therefore visible to anyone who dares to look closer.

eva fanari

When it comes to our actions and beliefs, there’s no separation between the underwater invisible and above water visible parts. They are too intertwined for that.

It’s time for a new analogy, don’t you think?!

Here it is: Our actions and results are like a blizzard.  

So much is going on in a blizzard: the snowflakes, different sizes and shapes, whiz around in all directions. But not just snowflakes. The winds intercept the game by changing the course unexpectedly and large snowdrifts block movements.

To a bystander, a blizzard is nothing but an endless field of white; a sum of elements blurred into a coherent arena.

Only when you look close enough can you see the individual parts: snowflakes, winds, and drifts. As you’re focusing on one, you can’t help but see the others as well – as you’re focusing on the snowflakes, you see how the wind pushes them into drifts.

The same applies to results: different parts – actions and results along with beliefs and mindset – whiz around like a blizzard. That’s what others see and consider a result.

Only when they look close enough can they see the individual parts of the overall chaotic mix of mindset, philosophy, beliefs, actions, and results. But just because they look at snowflakes, doesn’t mean they don’t see winds and drifts, and just because they look at results, doesn’t mean they don’t see the mindset and beliefs.

Just as we don’t always analyze the individual parts of a blizzard, we don’t analyze the individual parts of results. But nevertheless, we see them – a blend of actions and results with beliefs, mindset, and philosophy.

That’s how we know when someone’s words don’t match up to their thoughts, and the actions don’t add up to beliefs. We may not always see the individual parts, but we see the blizzard they cause.

So don’t fall for the illusion that you can somehow hide your thoughts. They may be easy to miss, but visible nevertheless.  

Photo by Eva Fanari, Winter in Estonia