You have probably heard this one before, and if you haven’t you probably just don’t realise it! One of the most beautiful stones in existence and the strongest mineral on earth forms over billions of years in some of the most pressurised conditions. So what’s so remarkable about it? People wear them all the time and use the stones for wedding rings and necklaces and other jewellery for the visual appeal, right? – but the true beauty of the stone is not in its appearance – but in its process.
We are all like diamonds – as cliché as that might sound. When we are placed under pressure we are given the opportunity to make one of two free decisions – to give-in, give-up and be overwhelmed by the situation or to embrace the challenge and approach it despite our fears.
Pressurised situations come up all the time in day-to-day life and it’s how we approach these that defines us. The minute we start embracing these pressures – that’s when we start to improve our life. What does it mean to improve our life you ask? What does it look like?
Improvement in life does not mean that pressures ceases to exist – it means that the pressures we face are chosen by us rather than forced upon us. What does this mean?
It means that the more we neglect the pressures of life and continue to give-in to hard work the less control we have over the types of pressures in our life.
Any pressure we try to avoid will never go away – it will come back at a time when we least want it to and will hit us twice as hard to teach us the lesson we missed in the first place.
For example, you have ambitions of running 5km in under 20 mins (a big goal), and this might require early mornings and numerous hours of running each week. You are choosing to put yourself in the pressurised conditions of fatigue so that you can see improvement in your abilities over time. The fact that you are choosing to place yourself in these tough conditions empowers you – you feel a sense of control over the challenges you face in life. It makes life more enjoyable and fulfilling – it creates a sense of direction for us and boosts our self-esteem.
On the other hand, you could avoid exercising for countless years, become overweight and be at risk cardiac arrest (a frightening reality for some) – it’s quite extreme (I know), but I want to illustrate the point. Instead of spending all those years in the past freely exercises for your self improvement you are now forced to do it anyway or you are at risk of dying.
If you can make the choice earlier to get going with your self improvement you’re creating ‘better pressures‘ for yourself. These are the types of behaviours we want to engage in to work towards achieving fulfilment and happiness in life.
This concept does not just apply to exercise and health – it can be seen in academia too as well as countless other places – how much greater will the thesis be that was worked at gradually over time under self-imposed pressured conditions than the one that was rushed in the final week under forced pressure from a deadline?
Can you kind of get the idea? I want everyone to know they are capable of creating self-imposed pressures in their life that will make them better in the future. It might be hard in the beginning, but I hope that the example I have shared shows you how worth it, it can actually be.
No pressure – no diamond.
~ Adam, 2019