Rough Diamond

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Case Studies - Rising Above Your Imperfections

Kamala Harris, Harvey Milk, and Madam Curie are three people who have unleashed a brilliance unto this little blue planet. They have all pushed boundaries within themselves to advance the great height that has affected generations.


Madam Curie

  • Location: Poland
  • Shortcoming: Was one of the greatest scientists in recorded history, yet was not allowed to teach because she was a woman.
  • She found a loophole that allowed the spouse of a former head of a department to assume the role in place of the deceased.
  • Through the love of her work and science, she surpassed her husband's studies and advancements.
  • It was only through the death of her husband was she allowed to assume the head role of Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Paris.
  • During WW1, Madam Curie mobilized an X-Ray unit through her advances in radiation for injured soldiers.
  • Awarded the 2 Nobel Peace Prizes for physics and another for chemistry.

Harvey Milk

Location: United States
Shortcoming: Dishonorably discharged from the Navy for being LGBT.
Shortcoming: Ran for office as an openly gay candidate because he felt that the current LGBT leadership was too conservative, and was defeated.
Ran again and was elected in 1977 becoming the first openly gay person ever to hold a United States office.
Harvey Milk was assassinated a year after he won — his murderer only received a manslaughter charge due to the diminished capacity defense later to be coined the twinkie defense stating he was suffering clinical depression from eating too much junk food.
The defense is still upheld to date in any Federal Court in the United States — this allows for lesser charges on any violent or premeditated attack on LGBT people.
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Owning Dreams Equals Success and Positive Results

Below are ten academic studies and articles that analyze the roles of courage/bravery (and their inverses-- fear and anxiety), self-care and health, social support, and owning dreams (defined here as self-efficacy and clear goal setting) in success and other positive results. Among other findings, fear, lack of sleep, and no social support are shown to negatively impact success and performance.

1. "How Social Support Influences University Students' Academic Achievement and Emotional Exhaustion: The Mediating Role of Self-Esteem"

  • Published: 2018
  • Description and Findings: This study found that how an individual perceived social support was correlated to academic success. So, the more a person felt they were supported, the better they did. An important factor in perceiving more social support was having higher self-esteem. Social support and self-esteem work in a sort of "feedback loop" with one bolstering and creating the other.

2. "The Role of Career Adaptability and Courage in Life Satisfaction In Adolescence"

  • Published: 2018
  • Description and Findings: Courage in adolescent boys and girls was shown to positively mediate both career adaptability and life satisfaction.

3. "The Relationship between Study Anxiety and Academic Performance Among Engineering Students"

  • Published: 2010

4. "Sport Courage, Worry, and Fear in Relation to Success of Alpine Ski Learning"

  • Published: 2018
  • Description and Findings: This academic study examined the correlation between a number of emotional factors, including fear, and measured sport performance among beginning alpine skiers. For both men and women, fear negatively impacted performances, although this was more strong correlated in women. For men, the strongest indicator of performance success was self-efficacy, or the belief in their ability to perform well. This is likely due to gendered cultural treatment of men and women as it pertains to sports.

5. New York Times Article, "An Underappreciated Key to College Success: Sleep"

  • Published: 2018
  • Description: Having poor sleep quantity and or quality is an even stronger correlate to poor academic performance than drug or alcohol use on college campuses. For example, one study cited in the article found: "...each additional day of sleep disturbance a college student experienced each week, the likelihood of dropping a course rose by 10 percent and grade point average fell by 0.02, even when most other factors known to influence academic success were taken into account."

6. "An Investigation of Character Strengths in Relation to the Academic Success of College Students"

  • Published: 2009
  • Description and Findings: Many traits deemed to be anecdotally "positive" correlate with greater academic success. This study used the Values in Action (VIA) character strength measurement and compared student's scores with GPAs and life satisfaction scores. The traits that most strongly correlated with a higher GPA were persistence, followed by love of learning, prudence, judgment, fairness, and self-regulation. Bravery was a correlate to higher GPA, but to a lesser degree.

7. "Goal Setting Theory of Motivation"

  • Published: 2011
  • Description and Findings: Performance is more effective when goals are specific and challenging, and when performance is evaluated and reflected on.

8. "The longitudinal impact of self-efficacy and career goals on objective and subjective career success"

  • Published: 2009
  • Description and Findings: Self-efficacy (or the belief in oneself) in the early stages of ones' career is positively correlated to later career satisfaction and career success (higher earnings).

9. "Researcher: Social support in schools is key to student success"

  • Published: 2015
  • Description and Findings: This article summarizes research done by Lara Perez-Felkner at Florida State University. The research found that for undeserved students, better institutional and personal support indicated better academic outcomes.

10. "Academic Performance among Adolescents with Behaviorally Induced Insufficient Sleep Syndrome"

  • Published: 2017
  • Description and Findings: This study found correlations between lack of sleep and poor academic performance. "The results suggest that restricting sleep to allot extra time for studying is an ineffective strategy for academic achievement."


In order to collate the best and most relevant statistics and studies, we searched through a variety of academic journals and databases, as well as trusted media sites and government articles and databases. In our search, we attempted to find both the most relevant, and the most recently, published academic articles publicly available. Although we were able to find many articles published within the last two years, some articles provided above are outside of the usual two-year scope we strive for. Any article outside of this scope that was provided was deemed to be both the most relevant and the most recent scholarly article on the subject that was publicly available. We also made sure that these older articles were still being cited and referred to in more recent works, which indicated their continued relevancy.

It also should be noted that we interpreted the phrase "owning dreams" to mean an individual who identifies their dreams and works toward them with purpose and belief. Thus, we include academic articles on intentional goal setting and self-efficacy (or self-belief), which we identified as being within the interpreted definition. We also interpreted "looking after oneself" to mean both physical self care (i.e. getting more sleep, eating healthful foods, etc) and emotional self care.

Did this report spark your curiosity?


From Part 02
  • ". For males, regression model was analyzed in 2 steps, finally including 2 predictors, but only one being statistically significant for predicting skiing performance for males: SEFPA (p < 0.001)—increasing self-efficiency increases skiing performance. For females, regression model was analyzed in 2 steps, finally including 2 predictors, but only one remaining significant independent predictor of skiing performance for females, and that is Fear score (p < 0.001) decreasing scores in fear increase skiing performance."
  • "Research supports predictions that the most effective performance seems to result when goals are specific and challenging, when they are used to evaluate performance and linked to feedback on results, and create commitment and acceptance. The motivational impact of goals may be affected by moderators such as ability and self-efficacy. Deadlines improve the effectiveness of goals. A learning goal orientation leads to higher performance than a performance goal orientation, and group goal setting is as important as individual goal setting. "