If you’ve seen the Disney movie Aladdin, then chances are you’re familiar with the term “Diamond in the Rough.” When Jaffar is trying to open the Cave of Wonders, the cave tells him that he needs to find the “Diamond in the Rough” Which (SPOILER ALERT!) turned out to be Aladdin.

Before we get into how Aladdin and the Cave of Wonders is relevant to us, let’s take a deeper look into the phrase “a diamond in the rough.” The process to create diamonds is completely natural. The diamonds start out as a simple piece of coal until a molten rock heats pure carbon under tremendous pressure which causes the diamond crystals to be formed. Volcanic activity will, over time, then push the diamond to the earth’s surface. Where it can be found buried in the earth usually by miners. Then the diamond still has to get cleaned and polished before it will shine and become the beautiful diamond that we see in stores and on jewelry.

Going back to Aladdin, from all appearances he looked like a street kid, he stole in order to eat, didn’t have much respect for authority or the law, and his future didn’t look that bright. However, once he teamed up with the genie and presented himself as Prince Ali, he started acting more refined, he was able to use his easygoing nature to his advantage, and he sparkled. He passed himself off as a real prince.

I know that I’m breaking down the character traits of a Disney character, but the lessons that we can take away from Aladdin are real. You can apply it to your life, you won’t get a magic carpet or a genie to help transform yourself, but people are amazing. Unlike the diamond which must be naturally flawless in order to achieve perfection, once it’s worked on by people then the value diminishes, people have the ability of introspection. We can look at ourselves and see our flaws, this allows us to work on ourselves.

Nobody is perfect. We all have our little, and sometimes major, flaws. Some people are quick to anger, quick to put others down, pathological liars, overeaters, jealous of others, lack of respect, lack of patience, this list of possible human flaws can go on and on. The great thing about people is that we can work on ourselves. Everyone has a little “diamond” in them, once you know what you want to work on; you can start to put the necessary pressure and training to get rid of the negative traits. This will bring out the positive in you, and you will sparkle like a diamond.

The same can be said for positive traits that are hidden beneath the surface. Everyone has good qualities, they may not present them all the time, charitable, friendly, helping others out, random acts of kindness, being there for someone else. Sometimes these traits lay dormant, because they are overshadowed by the more dominant negative traits in the paragraph above.

I’m not sitting here saying change is easy, because it’s not. You can’t just wake up one day and say, I’m tired of losing my patience starting today I will have more patience for everyone. That might work for a one day fix, but without working on changing and getting rid of the negative, you won’t be able to sustain your new outlook for very long. Change takes work, but in the long term you’ll see that it’s for the best. Put in the work and you’ll reveal yourself to be a true “Diamond in the Rough.”

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