Mettle: More than just an element

Andreas Klodt

Got a spade?


If you dig, dig way down, deep underground, for thousands of miles you’ll eventually pass through the earth’s outer crust. Keep going. Burrow through the next layer and down further into the earth’s mantle. Keep going…and finally you’ll hit the core. It’s a big, burning, powerhouse of pure metal.

The inner core is shaped like a ball. Scientists say that although the iron core is extremely hot—between 5,000 and 7,000 degrees Celsius—the pressure from the rest of the planet is so great that the iron cannot melt. This is why the inner core is mostly solid. This solid substance spins and controls the earth’s magnetic fields. These fields don’t just give us north and south. They act like a giant bubble, protecting our planet from dangerous particles floating around the solar system, allowing life to flourish.

Clearly inner metal is valuable thing. Which must explain why the core of us is pretty solid too. Underneath it all, we are pure mettle. Scratch the surface and deep down you’ll find you’re made of strong stuff. It’s taken me a good few years of doing jobs I didn’t love to finally find my direction. Folding jeans for more than eight hours a day, staring at spreadsheets, asking people if they’d been mis-sold insurance, photocopying, telling the same people that “room seven is on the seventh floor” every single day because it wasn’t their job to remember…the list goes on. But I’m glad I never gave up. It’s been a funny little chain reaction that’s got me where I want to be, but if I didn’t have a little reserve of mettle somewhere deep in my bones, there’s no way I would have got here. Maybe it sounds like a cliché—but I’ve lived it and it’s true.

The earth’s spinning core keeps the world turning. Every sunrise is a new day. Every day you switch off your alarm. You get up. You try, try and try again. Everyone knows you have to do a little bit of digging before you strike gold so come on—put the pedal to the mettle—let’s get going!


Written by  Shirin Zaid

Photography courtesy of Andreas Klodt