"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

.....I Am... I Said.....


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things ….. I Am… I Said …..

Ok, I’ll start this New Year with some disclosure: I’m a Neil Diamond fan. A big Neil Diamond fan. Whew, that was good to get off my chest. Should you have been anywhere near me on Highway 16 stuck in pre-Christmas traffic a couple of weeks ago, you may have heard me singing -- as loud as these lungs would permit -- “I Am…I Said.” Tears on my cheeks and gesticulating arm movements at various crescendos in the song were, I’m sure, an additional source of amusement for the drivers inching along beside me. This powerful song is not only one of my favorite ND songs, it is one of my all-time favorite songs in my life. Not just because it’s a great piece of music with hauntingly beautiful lyrics, but the story behind the song has always touched a chord with me. Diamond anguished in a deep depression while living in LA and he started the song while seeing a therapist for some help. It took him four months to finish this classic. In ‘Q’ magazine in July 2008, Diamond said he wrote the song to "find myself." In ‘Mojo Magazine’ that same year, he said, “It was consciously an attempt on my part to express what my dreams were about, what my aspirations were about and what I was about.” With a nod to Neil, this morning’s M5T explores some of the things that I hope to say, "I am… I said” in my life.

1. Calm in Chaos.

This is a learned skill. When you can keep your head about you when everyone else is figuratively or literally freaking out, you can be the one with focus, with perspective, with wisdom, with purpose and with control. You can be the one that keeps positive and be glue that keeps it all together until a solution can be found. Maintaining a sense of calm comes from knowing and trusting who you are and resolutely rejecting external things and people that try to sway you from your beliefs. 

2. Warrior not a Worrier.

I saw this book title meandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble and it made it into my M5T thoughts list. There is, and increasingly so, a lot that we all can be worried about in life. Some worry is justified; most are worries about issues, people and things that we have no influence over. Being a warrior means fighting against fear and anxiety in the deepest darkest parts of our own thoughts. Other times, being a warrior is being true to yourself, your faith and convictions; standing up and taking action against injustice or unfairness. Being a warrior can be about making decisions to change your life, continuing to pursue your dreams, or refusing to accept what others say you should be doing.

3. Insight versus Information.

The amount of information thrown, no, hurtled at us today is staggering. Numerous studies I have looked at said that we consume over 100,000 words in 24 hours, equivalent to 3.4 gigabytes of information each and every day. And that was 10 years ago! Last year, Google alone processed 40,000 searches every second, yes every second, equal to 3.5 billion searches per day. According to Forbes, for each minute of every day, 1.5 billion people are active on Facebook with five new Facebook profiles created every second. There are 600 million Instagrammers with 400 million active each day uploading 95 million photos and videos. Every minute, 16 million text messages, 156 million emails, over 154 thousand Skype calls, and close to a million Tinder swipes enter the technological ether and onto our supposed smart devices. All that being said, it is all the more important that we continue to suppress the ease of becoming mentally and intellectually lazy from the bombardment of information and continue to think for ourselves, to be ruthlessly critical of what we read and see online, and use insight rather than just information for decisions we make in life.

4. Compassion over Cold-heartedness.

I hope that no matter what life has thrown at me, or will throw at me, the older -- and hopefully a little wiser -- I get along the way, that I can continue to let compassion frame my heart rather than coldness. I want to be the kind of man that has a mindset of gratitude, can be discerning in my empathy and be philanthropic with random acts of kindness.

5. Engage not Evade.

I want to develop an “I Am” that builds relationships, that truly listens to others and that takes on tasks and challenges when I see a need. An “I Am” that avoids groupthink and speaks up with an informed voice with conviction rooted in faith and a centered moral compass. I hope my “I Am” includes positive influence on others, with an infectious, transparent and genuine joie de vie that expresses the true joy and appreciativeness for all that I have, and the people that surround me in my life.

Here’s to a week of finding a voice that is so uniquely yours that even the chair will hear, and to knowing your “I Am.”

© 2020 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