Saturday, April 25, 2015

Next to Diamonds

A favorite refrain of mine says with a hint of melancholy, "I'm no good next to diamonds." I think we all feel like that sometimes. We feel like unpolished pebbles rubbing shoulders with the fine diamonds of the world. A dirty stone lined up next to a perfect gem can be terribly intimidating, even disheartening. How can a dusty little rock shine and make a name for itself when compared to a glistening diamond?

All of us have talents and unique abilities, idiosyncratic nuances about ourselves that distinguish us from any other human on earth. Alas, it is still difficult to feel proud of your individuality if you are constantly surrounded by people that you only see as taller, prettier, skinnier, smarter, and inexplicably cooler. Truth is, many people will have more natural gifts than us, this is the nature of genetics and the universal law of unfairness. So what is our solution? Remained bummed over our inadequacy? Seek out friends that are shorter, uglier, dumber, and less talented than us? No. The solution is twofold. First we must embrace the diamonds around us. We must realize that being next to something beautiful or skilled takes nothing away from what we offer the world. If anything it is a built-in teacher, a built-in mentor, and a built-in motivator. The second part that we are already arriving at is attitude. If we are easily discouraged in seeing others succeed there is little hope for us. Seeing others succeed and win in life should imbue us with our own source of energy to likewise dominate life. But if we do nothing but compare our lives to those around us, we will end up with the chronic thought, "I'm no good next to diamonds."

I have not been immune to this thought process myself. I have been blessed with a litany of friends that have talents and traits that I will never acquire. I have friends that are more attractive than me, and friends that are better athletes than me. I have friends exceeding expectations at every corner, and sometimes my life seems like something forgotten and left behind. I envy their skill sets and their God given talents. They are diamonds. But I don't consider myself a worthless rock of no value. I too am a diamond. I did not arrive at this conclusion years ago, rather it has been an evolution of understanding. Sure, I will never be as muscular, as well spoken, or as charismatic as some people I know, but that matters not. What I don't possess should only motivate me to create and have more of something else.

Every day I stand next to diamonds because they inspire me, they edify me, and they remind me that I too am a diamond, just of a different cut. Every diamond is different, every one found in a different corner of the earth, mined and refined in different manners.

Maybe you still don't feel like a diamond. Maybe you feel like a cheap version found in 25 cent machines. If this is the case, don't run away from the giants of society. Seek out leaders, heroes, and champions. They will not subtract from your light, but if you let them, they will only add to your glory. Do not let the goodness encircling you to detract from your own happiness. Find diamonds, and be diamonds.