The constant battle to maintain True North

True North has always been a beautiful concept to me. The intention of a compass, a direct line toward the North Star, a steadfast guide that ancient navigators used to determine where they came from and where they were headed. Because True North is a point in space that does not change, that revolution around that point allows for the creation of a center.

The most common way we can find True North is by using a compass. No matter where you stand on Earth, the needle of a magnetic compass always points toward North. You could be lost at sea, with only a vast, deep, dark mass of angry water surrounding you and you would always be able to determine direction with that compass. The reason this all works is because of the Earth’s magnetic field. This field is fairly weak on the surface, but is strong at the deepest point, at the center. The Earth is filled with a burning hot, powerfully intense core of molten iron. Alright, enough 7th grade science… let’s get to the good stuff.

While flying, we often use a magnetic compass to determine direction. We know, that even when our fancy glass cockpits show error, the magnetic compass generally tells us where we are headed.

There is, however,one little problem with that wobbly little guy that we have been staring at for years…

Magnetic Deviation

This is the error induced in a compass by local magnetic fields.

There is all sorts of metal in the aircraft that is taking the compass’ eye off the magnetic pull of True North. In comparison to the pull of the magnetic field of the center of the Earth, these attractions are minor. Here’s the issue: these minor pulls are IN VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY to the compass and they seem larger because they are creeping in close to home. 

They throw the direction of the compass off. If we follow the incorrect direction of the compass that is being drawn towards a false North, we can end up in a place we never intended. Our destination will be skewed by *minor attention detractors* that could have and should have been corrected for.

Magnetic Deviation is at work in our brains, our lives, our goals, our relationships all the time.

What we want, hope for, and believe in more than anything else is *our* True North. We are driven, much like a compass’ pull toward the molten center of the Earth, to our most burning, beautiful desires. When we are at our best, we are living and acting in a way that supports us staying on our path toward True North. Unfortunately, just like in the aircraft, we are often times pulled off our course toward True North by magnetic deviation.

Little by little, we start to pull away from True North. A negative comment, a cheap temptation, a too good to be true solution, the easy way out. These pulls to our internal compass can seem stronger than the pull of our inner-most desires and goals because they are SO INCREDIBLY CLOSE. We can give up on our big ideas because we lose sight of True North.

These pulls are only powerful because of their proximity.

Days go by, weeks pass in a blaze and then *wow*… we are so far off track that it feels almost too late to turn around or correct course.

I have been there. Give up, give in, it is too late, I am too old. Whatever the excuse, we are about to throw them out the window of the airplane.

How to eliminate magnetic deviation

In the aircraft, magnetic deviation is eliminated by calculating your accurate bearings. You must eliminate the magnetic attraction from the metal objects in the plane. You must correct your course. You have to separate the compass from all the minor pulls in order to focus on the deep, powerful pull from the center of the Earth. It will not steer you wrong.

In life, we have to get away from the junk that is pulling us of course. You’ve got to move further away from the distractions, the people, the temptations that are doing their best to pull you away from True North. We all know, but sometimes brush off the fact that these distractions are ALL OVER THE PLACE. When you are doing great, big and beautiful things, there will be people who want you to fail. When you are on track and rockin’ your goals, the distractions are going to multiply. Think of these distractions like bait… but you are working toward the big prize here… don’t give into a thousand little easy outs. That’s what average people do. You are anything but average.

When you keep your eye on True North, by eliminating the pull of insignificant distractions, you can stay on your course.

You are much stronger than any form of magnetic deviation because you know the power of True North.

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3 thoughts on “The constant battle to maintain True North

  1. Thank you. Your humility and dedication to allowing your fans to experience your journey with you through the blog is fascinating. This one in particular speaks to my life in a timely manner. While you clearly have no obligation to write a blog through your 9news and aviation quests, I am glad that you do. True North will resonate with me. Inspiration for me comes in the form of tangible concepts, rather than tired clichés. This is a clear example of such a concept and I wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing.

  2. Amelia,

    This is so true. I am pulled towards going back to school and reinventing myself in my mid 50′s. I have told myself so many times, I am too old, you can’t do this, what are you thinking. The pull is so strong, I know I am on the right path. I feel alive, I am flying!

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