"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Monday Motivations…..

Following a feverish start to this month, today I have opted for a motivational update and redux from M5T three years ago, with an effort to stay focused and determined on tasks at hand for the remaining few weeks of 2019. Many readers have told me that they read M5T even before getting out of bed on Monday mornings. If you are feeling sluggish, or unmotivated this morning, I challenge you to remain in bed after reading these stories. If you don’t know any of these stories, Google or YouTube them. You won’t look at a Monday morning in the same way ever again.

1. Unstoppable Drive

Alex Zanardi was a F1 driver and two-time CART champion by the age of 34. In a horrific CART race crash in Germany in 2001, he lost both legs at the knees when another car cut his in half. For most, this would have been the end of a life’s passion. Alex had a different perspective. As he recuperated and came to terms with how his life had changed in a split second, he designed his own prosthetic legs that would allow him to race again. Two years after that accident, in 2003 he climbed back into a specially modified car, and was back racing full-time, going on to win World Touring Championship races in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009. He “retired” (keep reading) from car racing in 2009 and moved on to hand-cycling. That year, after only four weeks of training, he took fourth place in the New York City Marathon hand-cycle division and went on to win gold in the 2012 London Paralympic Games. In 2016 in Rio, Alex won gold again in the Paralympic Games, 15 years to the day of his crash in Germany. “Once you put everything in the right perspective, even bad times can be an opportunity to refresh your appetite, your desire.” As to retiring from racing, in January 2019 Alex was once again in the driver’s seat of a specially modified BMW for the Rolex 24-Hour race at Daytona.

2. Life Without Limits

Nick Vujicic, who turned 37 last week, is a tremendously gifted speaker that has inspired people around the world. He was born without arms and legs from a disorder called phocomelia. Despite what many would see as impossible, Nick golfs, surfs, and is a father of two. His message is that there is so much more to your life than meets the eye and that your circumstances don’t determine your future, your happiness, or limit your joy. “Pain is pain. Broken is broken. Fear is the biggest disability of all. And will paralyze you more than being in a wheelchair.”

3. One Door at a Time

Bill Porter was born with Cerebral Palsy. He refused to go on disability assistance despite being unable to find employment. In 1954 he convinced Watkins Incorporated to give him a chance to try door-to-door sales. They agreed, initially giving Bill a seven-mile route in Portland Oregon. That was the start of a 40-year career at Watkins, where he became the all-time top salesman for the company. “The world has no hold on you. Whatever has a hold on you comes from your mind.”

4. Climbing New Heights

In January of 2016, a Swede named Aaron Anderson “climbed” Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Despite being disabled from cancer, Aaron wanted to raise awareness for children with cancer by summiting Africa’s highest mountain, which crests at 19,341 feet. Aaron began his quest using a specially outfitted tricycle. At 15,000 feet, it was clear the tricycle would not allow him to complete the summit. When many would turn back, he slid off the chair and began to crawl up the mountain from that point. At 18,000 feet, at Stella Point, he was exhausted, and despite being advised again to turn back, decided to sleep and rest before attempting to push on to the summit. The next day, crawling again, Aaron pushed and pulled himself the remaining 1,300 feet, reaching Kilimanjaro’s peak known as the Uhuru Summit after nine days. He has set the goal of climbing the world’s remaining six summits to continue to fight for childhood cancer. “There is an almost indescribable feeling. That feeling when you fought for something really hard, when the body wanted to give up many times, when it only became heavier breathing, steeper and more difficult to walk, but they have continued anyway - to eventually reach the goal.”

5. Painting through Pain

Most recognize Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s impressionistic brilliance with canvas and paint. What you may not know is that he was confined to his home for the last 10 years of his life, virtually paralyzed from arthritis. Henri Matisse, almost 30 years younger than Renoir, became a close friend and visited Renoir regularly. Renoir continued to paint despite the debilitating pain. When asked by Matisse why he would paint in such agony, Renoir replied, “The beauty remains, the pain passes.”

Here’s to a week of staying motivated no matter what obstacles you may face or encounter.

© 2019 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