“No pressure, no diamonds.” According to Goodreads, this old saying was first coined by Thomas Carlyle, a 19th century philosopher and satirical writer, among other things. Carlyle was considered to be one of the best social commenters of his time, and this particular social comment is probably one of his best and most attributed to this day.
“No pressure, no diamonds,” is perhaps the favorite motto of procrastinators everywhere. It implies one’s best work is done when there is a great pressure to get something done by a fast-approaching deadline, as though the adrenaline rush of possibly missing said deadline makes one more productive.
Maybe there is some truth to that. Maybe procrastinators do need fire under their feet to get things done. Some of us just need a little extra push, I suppose.
Think back to when you were given a week to complete a project in school, especially if the project was assigned over a school break. How many of you actually took all of that valuable video game time to do more school work? To those who did, I congratulate you! To those who didn’t, welcome to the club! I think we have jackets somewhere…
In my academic and work experience, there are two types of people: those who take their time to organize, take proper notes, and put the extra bells and whistles into their projects, and those who wait until the night before and put all of their efforts into one manic burst of stress energy.
If you were or are the second type of person aforementioned, how many times had your parents or teachers harped on you for not starting something sooner? Their implied or blatant scorn for you being “lazy” was palpable, was it not? It’s as if they thought you might have failed for having put it off for so long.
To be fair, they may have had a point.
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4). Technically it is possible to get a good grade by doing all of the work the night before (or in some of my cases, the morning of). I once received an A in college on a paper I had written a couple of hours before a class after staying up the entire night before (which I highly do not recommend). However, more often than not, those who put forth the extra effort do have all that hard work pay off, while those who wait don’t do as well.
Proverbs goes on to say, “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing (20:4).” Those who purposefully put off work simply because they would rather play a game or binge watch the latest Netflix original comic book adaptation might be thinking of their grades or work performance in the back of their mind, but if they take too long, they may not reap the academic benefits they might have gotten had they started their work on time.
God does not want us to be idle in what we do. While it is important that we rest our bodies and minds, too much inactivity, or sloth, is not good. God calls us to be diligent, as we never know when the day will come when we can no longer do His work.
“We must work the works…while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). It may sound morbid, but we never know when we will die. So we should take our time in what we do, and put our best effort into it.
I think there’s a reason behind every assignment we are given, for work or for school, and we can always use it as an opportunity to do God’s work. Whether it’s a means to get into the college that will help you become a doctor, pastor, etc, or if it’s an opportunity to be a good example in Christ, we should always put our best work into every assignment given to us.
I know this is easier said than done if you’re like me and thrive on a looming deadline. But we can learn to walk before we run. Try doing just a little bit each day and see what a difference it can make. That game or series will still be there when you’re done.