As an educator, I hear some interesting things in the classroom—some of them inspired, some of them uninformed, and some of them utterly ridiculous—but, all of them entertaining.
I was talking with my students about the importance of putting time and effort into the educational endeavor, to which one responded, “Cs get degrees.” I replied, “Yes, they do, and that attitude also points to character.” A conversation ensued that made me think about how each of us may possess qualities that can be compared with the four Cs of diamonds: cut, color, clarity and carat.
The cut of a diamond is its most important quality because it determines the diamond’s sparkle. If the diamond is properly cut, light emanates out of the top. If it’s too shallow, the light comes through the bottom and, if it’s too deep, the light deflects to the sides. The cut of the diamond is like a person’s character. Those of highest integrity, that is, those cut from the right cloth, set the standard for everyone else, serving as a beacon of light in the darkness.
The second most important quality of a diamond is its color. The color is what people notice, surpassed only by the sparkle. A diamond high in quality will be close to colorless. Like the diamond, those who live a life of integrity are typically transparent and pure of motive, with nothing to hide. They are the ones with a high level of credibility, displaying a genuine spirit and a heart to do what’s right even when those around them choose otherwise.
Clarity is the third quality of the diamond and relates to internal and external flaws, which range from flawless to imperfect. The diamond’s clarity is often the least important quality because most flaws are so minor they can only be observed with magnification and, therefore, have no visual impact on the diamond’s beauty. Clarity may be compared with a person’s confidence. Individual confidence levels range from those who are self-assured and certain of whom they are to those who struggle with their own sense of self-worth. We all have flaws to deal with, but those who recognize, admit and address their flaws are poised for success. The admission of flaws doesn’t imply uncertainty nor detract from a person’s internal or external beauty.
Finally, the fourth, most noticeable and most misunderstood, quality of a diamond is its carat, which refers to the diamond’s weight as opposed to its visual size. Typically, the carat is coupled with the cut of the diamond. For instance, a poorly cut large diamond may look smaller than a properly cut small diamond. So, while a diamond may, on the outside, appear magnanimous, it can still be lacking in quality. Carat compares with a person’s creativity, coupled with commitment. People who are highly creative typically have an ability to produce striking and insightful work, but such creation without commitment and follow through will always fall short of the mark.
My student’s comment that “Cs get degrees” wasn’t wrong. We have the freedom to skate through life, skim by and do the bare minimum, or we can embrace and exhibit the four Cs of a life well lived. From cut to character, color to credibility, clarity to confidence and carat to creativity, we’re all diamonds in the making. If you want the best life has to offer, give it everything you’ve got.
As author, Hunter Thompson, puts it, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”
Dr. Terilyn J. Goins is a motivational speaker/vocalist, trainer and coach. She offers a wide variety of training and motivational music programs. Goins creates programs that educate, inspire and challenge participants. Visit www.terilyngoins.com or reach her at 757-303-7807 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.