Pressure Makes Diamonds

I was brought up in a busy, “spirited” family, where education and hard work was promoted to be the sure-fire way to “success”, the definition of that itself, not quite being so clear to me then. Being born in one of the poorest places in the world at the time, I can fully appreciate how this family ethos could have emerged.

In Australia, our backdoor was a typical, middle suburban type. A mission brown hollow, at a stretch semi-solid core with a textured opaque windowpane in the top half. But that’s where the resemblance to any typical backdoor ended. On its window there was a sticker. Bold black text, fluorescent background, it read – “If it is to be, it is up to me”. And every day, whether you liked it or not, before school, after school, anytime you crossed that way, you subconsciously absorbed that very mantra.

Self-belief. It’s a powerful thing.

Now the next question is, if “what” is to be? What do you want to make happen? I reckon I saw that sign too much, and a spirit of challenging the status quo, wherever I looked, beset me. I don’t even think I choose such a disposition as much as it feels like it became mine to own. I can’t help but want to change things where I see things that could benefit from change. If it is to be, it is up to me.

On a given day though, all of that has led me to simply think so much. Being a “doer” led me to want to do so much – to change things for the “better”, at least as far as my values can ascribe.

Yet like many people, I too seek to reconcile this with “the simple life”. I wish I could be “satisfied” with thinking less and doing less. I truly sometimes wish I could. That would give me more time to focus on things that are close to me, like my family, indeed. I love my family.

How do I do both?

And so, torn between these things, I feel pressure. Immense pressure sometimes. I feel pressure to be the best husband, the best father, the best son, the best doctor, the best leader, the best everything – I can be. If it is to be, it is up to me. That’s a personal mission, and pressure is the landscape it is set in.

Now from my writings so far and perhaps my life played out so far, it may become apparent that I don’t mind the pressure. In fact, I can say that I relish it. And the reason I relish it is because I believe in the quote, “Pressure makes diamonds”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing macho about this, rather just that through pressure, I’m forced to make important decisions, and I find challenge and purpose in that – having to make choices. Through pressure, I discover things about myself and the world around me. In the moment.

Getting back to basics though, I reflect on family violence, and consider how much of that “pressure” associated with being “busy” that I’m a part of, contributes to the problem. Pressure brings the best and worst out of people. Family violence could be the worst. In the heat of a moment of pressure, we say things, we do things, that we may not mean to. That we later regret. And it’s not limited at all to our family. It may be at work, on the road, in the supermarket. Pressure can drive us to be aggressive and abusive.

Now, whilst I don’t mind pressure (pressure makes diamonds), I have always lamented at any times I myself have been aggressive as a consequence. Always.

The flip side is that during moments of great pressure, adrenaline often naturally flowing, when I’ve overcome any impulse to be aggressive, and made it through to the “other side”, and treated the world around me with gentleness and understanding, I’ve felt a sensation of calmness and mastery that sometimes made me literally shiver. I considered, metaphorically, that the pressure had made me the ultimate diamond. A kind diamond. That I had in fact become “Diamond Kind”.

I don’t know if I’m alone in my thinking. But I know that there is a lot of pressure out there, sometimes self-imposed, sometimes not. And I know that there’s a lot of aggression that comes out of that pressure. May I say, not just for men, rather – for anyone who is under pressure.
And so, I’d welcome anyone who has become a diamond under pressure, dare to be the sharpest diamond of all, cut through aggression, and emerge – Diamond Kind.

And that brings us to our critical junction. We are about to embark on a movement, interviewing anyone, man or woman, young or old, who can relate a moment in their life, that they were under pressure and chose to be Diamond Kind. So, if you know of anyone who fits the bill, who you believe is Diamond Kind – please email me – fgomes@atticushealth.com.au. We’d truly love to speak to them and share their moment.

3 myths about meditation and how you can get started

Despite the growing popularity of meditation, prevailing misconceptions about the practice are a barrier that prevents many of my family & friends from trying meditation and receiving its profound benefits for the body, mind, and spirit

So if you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I can’t meditate,” it might be time to revisit the practice with a deeper understanding of what meditation is really about.

Here are the 3 meditation myths that might prevent you from experiencing (like I have)  the life-changing benefits of the practice.

Myth #1: It takes years of dedicated practice to receive any benefits from meditation.

Truth: The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. You can begin to experience benefits the first time you sit down to meditate and in the first few days of daily practice. Many scientific studies provide evidence that meditation has profound effects on the mind-body physiology within just weeks of practice. I found that as little as 2 weeks of meditation helped me to decrease stress levels, improved concentration (less procrastinating!) and feel calm; it also helped me to sleep soundly after daily meditation practice.

Myth #2: I don’t have enough time to meditate.

Truth: If you make meditation a priority, you will do it. I started with mediating for 5 minutes which is better than none. I encourage you not to talk yourself out of meditating just because it’s a bit late or you feel too sleepy. As I spend time meditating on a regular basis, I find I actually have more time.  In meditation, we are in a state of restful alertness that is extremely refreshing for the body and mind. As I stuck to my meditation ritual, I noticed that I was actually able to accomplish more while doing less (go figure). Instead of struggling to achieve my daily tasks, I spend more and more time in the flow.

Myth #3: Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice.

Truth: Meditation is a practice that takes me beyond the noise of my mind into a place of stillness and silence. It doesn’t require a specific spiritual belief.  Most of the  meditators I know have no particular religious beliefs. We meditate in order to experience inner quiet and the numerous physical and mental health benefits of the practice – including lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep.

Meditation has helped me to enrich my life. It has enabled me to enjoy whatever I’m doing in my life more fully and happily – whether that is working, playing sports or taking care of my son.

I recommend starting slowly. Start with just 5 minutes each day. Gradually increase the time over several weeks. When I started meditating, five minutes felt like an eternity. I now practice for 20 minutes a day, and sometimes I am surprised at how quickly it passes!

When it comes to different types of meditation classes, there’s definitely not a shortage. I recommend checking out Gabby Bernstein’s free Youtube guided meditations. Here’s one to get you started.

The advantage to guided meditations is that the narrator or teacher walks you through how to meditate, what to expect from your mind and body, and how you can apply what you learned in the meditation to your life. If your mind tends to wander during meditation, the guidance of an experienced teacher can help you focus and bring you back to the present moment.

I promise you that slowing yourself down for 5 minutes can begin to change your whole world dramatically. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like a bit more peace, focus, and clarity in their life, and it’s all here for us, right here, right now.



I’m Brett Thiedeman – Just an ordinary guy focused, conscious and intentional about my learning, growth & being a change maker in my own life and the lives of others.

Farewell Dr Harry Imber

Dr Harry Imber has been working at William Street Clinic (more recently Atticus Health William Street) for 40 years, where he commenced there in partnership with Dr Kaz Czuba.  Harry will be retiring on 30 June 2021 and what a career it has been.

As a General Practitioner, Harry has always worked in the Melbourne CBD.  He has seen a variety of patients over the years, however, since working within the legal precinct of the city, Harry has accumulated many legal professionals as his patients.  Many solicitors, barristers, judges and QCs would know Harry and the work he has done over the years, and would be saying their goodbyes.

Our favourite observations about Harry include

  • His steadfast dedication and compassion. You can work in a job for many years and get tired.  Not Harry.  His vibrance and focus in his consult room, for each and every patient, has been ever present.
  • Running on time. Busy professionals in the city have relied on Harry to run on time, often so that they could get back to court.  Harry has maintained the uncanny knack of being thorough and running on time.  Not an easy feat for any GP to achieve.
  • Harry has been willing on every occasion to share his knowledge openly.  Within the larger group of Atticus Health, he has already proven himself to be a resource to junior doctors and we hope that this will continue post retirement.
  • His humility. There are only so many doctors who routinely put the rubbish out at a medical clinic.  Harry always did.  This is but one glimpse of the humility of the man.  To be professional, intelligent and humble, as Harry is, is rare.
  • His working relationship with reception, namely one Enza Percoco! What a delightful duo they have been.  We must admit that every time we have walked into William Street Clinic, it has felt like stepping into a classic sitcom where characters are set, conversations fly, but love always fills the room and wins the day.

With that said, from all of us at Atticus Health, we bid Dr Harry Imber a fond farewell and wish him all the best for a well-deserved retirement.  His demeanour and contribution as a doctor, colleague and friend will forever be remembered.