Pressure Makes Diamonds (And Lessons)


I’ll go to my deathbed believing that pressure makes diamonds.

I’ve seen nothing to prove me wrong and have all the stories and facts to prove this true.

For example, after his company SpaceX failed three expensive rocket launches, Elon Musk bet the company on the fourth launch.  

That’s maybe the greatest form of pressure, when your actions affect not only the survival of the company you’ve worked tirelessly to build, but all of the employees’ mouths you’re responsible for feeding.

If one small thing goes wrong (a loose screw, a computer glitch, a broken panel, etc.), the mission fails and SpaceX goes bankrupt.

So what happened? SpaceX successfully launched their rocket and then got a $1.6 billion NASA contract that rocketed (pun intended) the company to a whole new level. By stepping into the pressure, SpaceX came out with the exact diamond they needed: proof of success and more funding toward the cause of people living on Mars.

And even though most of the country hates the Patriots, if they’re honest they’d respect Tom Brady’s Super Bowl performance and legendary, comeback win.

Imagine the pressure of the whole world watching you get your butt kicked down 28-3 in the most important game of your life. If you fail, you not only let yourself down, but your teammates, coaches and owner, the entire state of Boston, and fans all over the country.

Keep in mind Brady also has his reputation of greatest quarterback of all-time at stake.

And what happened? Brady rose to the occasion, overcame the pressure, and drove the Patriots down the field possession after possession until they won in overtime and he received Super Bowl MVP. Tom literally won a diamond Super Bowl ring by looking pressure in the face and winning.

Enough about Elon Musk and Tom Brady overcoming pressure.

When’s the last time you entered a high-pressure environment head on? When have you recognized the pressure, said you’re going to give it your best shot, and see how the chips fall?

If you haven’t faced pressure recently or at all in the past few years, I’m convinced you’re doing life wrong and stunting your growth.

The reason you should always step into pressure is it’ll force you to make a diamond or you’ll learn valuable lessons—that’ll eventually make a diamond.

Pressure Makes Diamonds

Whether it comes from coal or a scientist in a lab, the only way to make a diamond is through highly concentrated pressure. I’m talking an insane amount of pressure—science says 230,000 to 1.3 million times atmospheric pressure.

We should be thankful for this pressure, because without it there are no beautiful, majestic diamonds for people all around the world to appreciate. Pressure creates the beauty. Otherwise we only have coal and boring rocks to look at.

And the same principle applies to your life. With no pressure, you’re not forced to grow. And when you’re not forced to grow, you’re not going to find any diamonds in your life.

You’re going to fall into the spell of being comfortable and living on autopilot, like most of the world does. And your life won’t produce any diamonds to bless the people in your life.

I know how it feels to work under pressure. I remember telling everyone I knew and on social media that by September 2015, I’d be a published author.

The pressure kept rising as this date creeped up, but it also forced me to raise my game by focusing and working harder.

The end result is I published The Golden Resume in time, I helped a bunch of people with their job search, it became an Amazon bestseller, and this pressure created a diamond in my life I’ll never forget.

No amount of pressure compares to when I quit my 9 to 5 job in March of 2016 to become a full-time entrepreneur. Though I invited it, the pressure to succeed and make a living came from everywhere: my old boss, strangers, friends, relatives, sisters, parents, and myself.

How did I respond to this pressure? Kept working to provide value to my audience and get creative to find new sources of income. At the end of that year, this pressure led me to a $10k income month—my highest ever and another diamond-moment in my life.

Without going face to face with pressure, odds are I wouldn’t have ever written three bestselling books and live my dream as an entrepreneur.

Pressure and how I responded to it created diamonds in my life, and so I’ll always grateful.

If you’re intimidated by pressure, I appreciate how the founder of Forbes makes this idea simple,

Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs. – Malcolm Forbes

You don’t have to be the most talented person out there. Just look for ways to embrace pressure and work hard in the middle of it. Over time, you’ll have the opportunity to turn your coal into a diamond. That’s all you need.

And even if you fail under pressure, as long as you stuck with it and did your best effort, there’s still great hope. Because…

Pressure Also Makes Lessons

Sometimes you can give it your all, face the pressure head on, and lose.

Except I’d say you only lost in the short-term, and in the long-term you won because of what you learned about yourself under pressure.

Maybe you gambled to take the job interview you weren’t qualified for and didn’t get the job. Who cares? Shake it off and get back on your horse.

At the minimum you gained interview practice and learned more about the position you interviewed for. Those crucial lessons will help you land the next job that you’re unqualified for on paper, except you dominate the interview.

Maybe you started a company out of college and gave it a shot for two years until you had to shut it down. This doesn’t look good on the surface.

But everything you learned under pressure in those two years are valuable lessons to take with you the rest of your career. And it’s very likely those lessons will lead you to start a new company and get your diamond.

You don’t get these lessons and diamonds if you run away from pressure to stay at a comfortable job or never start the company you’ve always dreamed about.

What I’m saying is it’s the pressure that provides hard lessons and experience that propel you to get diamonds in the future. (Hey Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, who choked under the Super Bowl pressure, at least you learned a tough lesson to take with you going forward.)

So next time you’re presented with a high-pressure opportunity, go for it and don’t look back. No matter what you’re going to see what you’re made of under pressure.

And if you fail, so what? Failure is the father of success. Meaning you’ll be more prepared to succeed next time around now that you’ve got that out of the way.

Stepping into pressure and embracing it is a win-win. The only time you lose is if you quit or walk away from pressure. That’s the opposite of taking your success.

When you grow under pressure, you’ll trade in your lump of coal for a diamond. And you can use that diamond to bless others around you.

Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit: