"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Shifting Gears…..

Having recently spent a few days photographing some of the most incredible cars in the world, and if you recall from M5T a couple of weeks ago, I paused to contemplate life overlooking the ocean and cars on a bench near the cypress tree on the 18th hole of Pebble Beach.  At some point, I started thinking that cars are a tremendous metaphor for life. Whether you or others see you as a rare classic or a crazy-fast sports car, a model that needs some body work or a finally-tuned machine, a luxury sedan or mini-van, an automatic or stick shift, or a hybrid or aspirated type, today’s M5T postulates on shifting gears in life.

1.  First gear 

We all need a first gear to get going, to make a start. First gear gets us out of neutral. It’s high torque and low speed that moves us from standing still to moving forward in the direction we want to go, to what we are called to do.

2.  Second gear

Second gear allow us to gain some speed. It keeps the momentum going that we started. If we don’t shift up from first gear to second gear, we will make a lot of noise, but run the risk of over-revving our engine and allow others or life to pass us by. Second gear is all about pace and motion. It’s a gear best used to climb very steep hills, or to extricate ourselves from deep mud that we may encounter along our journey.

3.  Third gear

Life starts to get interesting in Third gear. It is acceleration and confirmation that we are headed to where we set out to go. It’s about putting some distance between where are going and what has been behind us. It requires more attention as our speed increases. Third gear is great to cruise around at lower speeds yet leaves enough opportunity for responsiveness that affords us the ability to make swift changes to our direction, or to avoid pot-holes and bumps in life.

4.  Fourth, fifth and higher gears

Fourth and higher gears get us to up to speed, getting us closer to where we want to be, to how we want to live. It is beyond cruising; it’s a feeling that we have taken the right direction, that we can be excited about the journey and that we can expect more to happen along the way. Shifting into these gears are a conscious decision to press forward. These gears require us to be focused, to be alert for hazards, and yet allow us to embrace new found freedom from moving faster with less effort.

5.  Reverse

At certain points, we should gauge where we are in our journey, our chosen path. Road blocks, perils, detours, missed turns or overlooked exits give us pause to take a break and to reflect on and consider where we have come from. Reverse is not about stopping.  It’s about backing up and revising, refreshing and regaining our sense of direction, resolve and purpose.

Here’s to a great week of shifting through your gears.

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved. 

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business.  He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.  

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com  and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook.  Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine.  His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome.  Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com