#754 How to Make a Pearl

To Go with our Diamonds

One of our very first +1s was on a brilliant line from Steven Kotler. At the end of our interview about his great book The Rise of Superman, I asked him what one piece of wisdom he’d share with someone passionate about (and committed to!) Optimizing their lives so they could actualize their potential.

He thought about it for a moment and then said: “No pressure, no diamonds.”

← Love that.

“No pressure, no diamonds.”

It’s a fantastic mantra-metaphor for those times when we’re feeling pressure and need to shift from a threat response to a challenge response—remembering that our infinite potential exists on the other side of our comfort zones and that the “pressure” we feel as we exit that zone can serve as our magic ticket to awesome AND remembering that those times when we feel the most pressure are the times to ground ourselves in our fundamentals lest we pop! 🤓

One more time: “No pressure, no diamonds.”

More recently, we explored a different kind of precious-gem-inspired wisdom in our +1 on Phil Stutz’s idea of Stringing Pearls. Recall the power of focusing on taking ACTION vis-a-vis worrying about the outcomes of your consistent action.

Today I’d like to talk about pearls again. Only this time we won’t be stringing them together, we’ll be making them.

Do you know how pearls are made?

Well, let’s go to Google and then to one of the first results for our answer, shall we?

“The process begins when a particle, or what is referred to as an irritant, gets inside the mollusk. This particle in essence functions as the nucleus of the pearl from a very early stage. Once the irritant becomes trapped, the mollusk begins to coat to it with nacre as a defense mechanism. Nacre is a composite made mostly of aragonite that is strong and iridescent. The unique luster (or glow) of pearls comes from this nacre. The mollusk coats the nucleus with thousands upon thousands of layers of nacre, and over time, a pearl begins to slowly form. How long it takes for a pearl to form is dependent on the growth rate of the nacre. Most pearls typically take anywhere between two to four years to fully develop.”

How awesome is that?

A mollusk (or oyster or clam), takes an irritant and (incrementally!!!) turns it into a beautiful pearl.

That’s Today’s +1.

Got any “irritants” in your life?

Let’s create some luminescent pearls.


Well, let’s follow nature’s lead as modeled by the oyster and release our own “strong and iridescent” nacre in the form of applying our favorite wisdom tools in the face of life’s (inevitable) irritants.

Perhaps our nacre can range from “Bring it on!!!” to radical acceptance to —-insert-your-favorite-tools-here—-.

btw: Did you know that the word iridescent means “showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles” and comes from the Latin word that means “rainbow”?

Yep. We want to come at it from all angles if we want to shine with luminescence—using every tool we’ve got.


And how often should we release our nacre?


How long will it take to make our pearl?

Well, it depends on the growth rate (which is driven by how often you practice!) but expect it to take years—we’re talking “horticultural time” not stopwatch time with this kind of creative work!

+1. +1. +1.

Here’s to our growing collection of precious wisdom tools!

💎 📿

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