June 30, 2021|From the Director

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.

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