“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. Proceed to the Route …..
Photo: D. Paul Graham, ‘Proceed to the Route”, Pebble Beach 2022
“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. Proceed to the Route …..
Two separate incidents and observations led to this week’s M5T. The first occurred as I was wishing I was in my pony as I ripped through winding back roads over hills and through valleys that surround the Monterey penninsula. However, any such ripping was constrained by the limits of my top-heavy rental SUV. GPS and cell phone connectivity would get spotty at times. At a few points in valleys my digital navigator, Silicon Sally, would lose signal and she would repeatedly say “proceed to the route” until the satellite signals were reacquired. The second occurred while I was photographing historic racers at Laguna Seca Raceway between turns 8 and 8A of the track’s famous Corkscrew. The Corkscrew is a breathtaking ten-story drop from T8 through T10 of the track. As race cars began their plunge into the Corkscrew, a squirrel would dart out on the track and zip back and forth in a frenzied state, barely avoiding its untimely demise from Michelins or Pirellis. The squirrel continued to do this for some time, always coming to the middle of the road, before returning to the safely of where it came from. Driving back to my hotel, I reflected on these two incidents. I pondered how easy it can be to lose connection to our direction in life and that if we lose direction, we can often become like that squirrel and run around frenzied, putting ourselves in harm’s way, even if only internally, trying to find our way back to where we should be. This morning’s M5T takes bearing on staying enroute in life.
1. Be the real you
Our world is clamoring, in fact demanding that you should conform to be accepted. A world that insists your direction, your route, be anything but yours. A world that tries to condition you that you should be thinner, smarter, and fitter; a movement that will try to shame you for thoughts that are not acceptably ‘woke’; a world that expects you to speak only politically correct messages and if you can’t, expects you to stay quiet and to stifle and lose your voice. All the more reason to be true to yourself. To hold fast to your individuality, your authenticity and to be proud of your own identity; to think for yourself, to be resolute in your refusal to accept illogical group think, and to reject the notion that you should be anyone but yourself.
2. Check your mindset
It is easy to lose your route when you focus more on thoughts instead of facts. Negative thoughts have greater intensity than positive thoughts. Staying on route compels you to stop feeding your shame and to stop listening to the lie that you are the sum of your failures. Proceeding to your route requires that you focus on the quality of your successes, and the value, the worth, and the importance that you have to others. Keeping your intended direction requires that you stop comparing yourself to others and that you remain committed to your dreams, constantly inviting more positivity into your thoughts, and remaining steadfast in believing in yourself, even when others don’t.
3. Change your perspective
Often to regain your route and direction will require a change in perspective. Learn to view your current situation from different vantage points. Your happiness and success are likely going to go far beyond money and material things. Learn to genuinely connect with others. Take time out to care for yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Stop comparing yourself to others. Let yourself laugh and love, to be inspired and intentional. Understand the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It may be that either side of the track is best for you, but the perspective of running in frenzied circles and being run over in the middle of the track is not likely where you should be.
4. Confront your challenges
There is no doubt that challenges can create detours in our lives. You can be proceeding along your route, thinking everything is on track and the cliche ‘stuff’ hits the fan. Challenges create mental toughness when you identify fears and clarify changes that need to be made. They help define what you believe in and where you really want to go. Change your plans, not your direction. Challenges can reenforce your commitment to your goals and objectives. Accept your present moment, the reality of the roadblock, detour, or hurdle. Before running in chaotic circles, take a breath, observe, and decide how you will move forward. Then deal with it and proceed back to your own unique journey.
5. Prime your persistence
Sometimes, in fact most times, staying on track is a conscious decision to continue to proceed to your route. It is never too late to start, or to restart and then restart again for as many times necessary along your route towards your destination. There is power in persistence. Transcendence from tenacity. Persistence demarcates your personal boundaries. Stay focused and adamantly reject the fear of failure and the judgement of others. Refuse to give up. Don’t be the squirrel. Be shameless in your persistence because this is your journey.
Here’s to a week of focus no matter what distractions you have, to avoiding being the squirrel in the middle of the track, and to proceeding to the route that is specifically yours.
© 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.