“Monday 5 Things ….. Graham’isms …..

Dpg Self Portrait 84Photo: D. Paul Graham, ‘Kodak Selfie’, Caledon, circa 1984

“Monday 5 Things ….. Graham’isms …..

Hang around me long enough and you’ll hear certain phrases that I use quite often. I can’t take credit for all of them, but I have embraced them, living the meanings behind them for years. This morning’s M5T shares some of these simple, yet profound perspectives on life that I’ve adopted as Graham’isms.

1. “You don’t ask, you don’t get”.

If you Google this saying, it is credited to Mahatma Gandhi and Stevie Wonder. I personally believe it is theologically correct and attributable to Jesus in the books of Matthew and John. It is a basic tenet of my life. There is a complexity and a vulnerability to asking for something. How often do we regret not asking for something? Asking for something identifies a need that we have and forces us out of our comfort zone by engaging with someone that might say no to our request. And who likes being rejected? Asking isn’t always about ‘things’. Asking is about communication. And perhaps the most important ‘asks’ are found in our deepest relationships. Asking in a relationship identifies, clarifies, and brings balance. It avoids assuming the other person just knows what we want without asking. If you don’t ask, the answer is already ‘no’.

2. “You don’t have to shovel humidity”.

I was born in Sault Ste. Marie in northern Ontario. I grew up in Thunder Bay, which is even further north at the tip of Lake Superior. The wonderful friends that I grew up and incredible geography are some of my most fond and cherished memories in life. Bone chilling, frost biting, double digit negative temperatures, and shoveling snow in our driveway in the winter do not particularly fit into my ‘fond and cherished’ category of memories. Living in Savannah for the past 16 years, I much prefer triple digit, positive temperatures, triple digit humidity levels and nary a snow shovel to be found.

3. “Embrace the joy of flight”.

At a base level, this is about my love of being in airplanes. I genuinely enjoy every aspect of flight. Well, ok, I don’t enjoy taking my shoes off for the TSA or for those people that meander and weave in the terminal, but I digress. If it weren’t for fear of being asked to leave the aircraft, I’d be like those little kids, excitedly bouncing up and down in their seats before take-off. Flight lets me disconnect if but for a few hours. I enjoy the view from 30,000 feet and above. Flight means I’m going somewhere and will be given the opportunity to meet new people and see new things. The deeper response to embracing the joy of flight is a metaphor of living a full life. The joy of flight in life is making a conscious decision to turn into the wind, and to let my dreams fly. Embracing the joy of flight in life is about having faith in what I believe and about constantly learning and living passionately. Embracing the joy of flight in life is about rising above and transcending the norm, about discovering and learning, and about being present, strapping in and taking off to a higher altitude.

4. “Nothing is as bad as it looks or as good as it seems”.

I’m sure others have said this, but it was my grandfather that first shared this with me when I was quite young. I don’t remember the context of how this came up, but I was upset at something that I’m sure was the most important thing in the world to me at the time. I remember sitting with him at the little Formica kitchen table, my grandmother behind us making easy-over eggs for breakfast, and my grandfather looking me in the eyes and sharing that with me. It has stuck with me ever since and has given me a sense of perspective and balance to those low points and high points in life.

5. “You can’t suck and blow at the same time”.

For those whose minds may be in the gutter on this one, stay with me. If you doubt the veracity of this one, just try it. It’s impossible to do. For me, it’s all about a life of communication and character. It is about being clear, complete, concise, and considered in all I say and how I choose to live. It’s about acknowledging and being accountable for my mistakes and failings. It’s about focusing on my strengths and beliefs and never, ever, being ashamed of, or making excuses for either.

Here’s to a week of embracing the joy of flight, whatever your flight may be and wherever your flight may take you.

© 2022 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

For over 10 years, D. Paul Graham has published “Monday 5 Things” ™, also known to readers as M5T ™.  Each Monday, Paul shares his observations, thoughts and passions on people, life, and culture.