“Monday 5 Things”…..Vivamus per Verba…..

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Photo: D. Paul Graham circa 2017. The staircase at Livraria Lello in Porto Portugal. A stunning bookstore founded in 1906 that holds millions of words was a location that inspired J.K. Rowling’s depiction of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

Monday 5 Things…Vivamus per Verba…..

Well. Here we are. 2021. I wonder how many set new year resolutions last Friday, only to say, ahhhhh, I think I’ll start [insert resolution of choice here] on Monday! It’s for that reason alone that I stopped making New Year Resolutions years ago. I simply found that, even with good intent, the more ambitious the resolutions are, they are rarely attainable or sustainable. What I have done for the past decade or so is think about words that I want to live by for the coming year. This habit has evolved into five words that make their way into M5T at the start of each year. In fact, I have these five words at the top of each day in my calendar just as a reminder. As such, I humbly share with you today my five words for 2021 that I will try to live by.

1. Inspired.

Who doesn’t like the feeling of being inspired? I am inspired by meeting or reading about people that are authentic and adventurous. Those that refuse to conform, who think for themselves. Those that have fought through hardship, tragedy, or failure and, no matter how much they have lost or how tattered and bloodied they might have become, have carried on with their dreams and goals. I want to take those sorts of inspiration to refine my vision for 2021. I want to be inspired with gratefulness. To keep learning, to envisage and live my life with boldness and a resolute refusal to give up on the most important parts of my life. Inspired and motivated to choose to do the hard things, to change where and when needed, and to believe in me. Inspired to dare to dream, and then to dream even bigger. Inspired to be a better man, a better friend, a better lover. Inspired with joy for a fulfilled life.

2. Prism.

A few weeks ago, in the early morning hours, I was listening to a radio station in Thunder Bay. The weather report came on and I found myself trying to remember and comprehend what -30 Celsius feels like. And the point to this? A song by the late 70’s and early 80’s Canadian rock-band named Prism was played. On top of some wonderful memories of people I grew up with, I started to think about a prism. In the right light, prisms reveal a kaleidoscope of refracted light. What you see looking through a prism depends on how you turn the glass into the light and which side of the glass you look through. Prisms bend light, and filter reflected angles. Like a prism, in 2021 I hope to absorb information and communicate through a filter the expresses a kaleidoscope of thought and undistracted reflection with clarity. And I will continue to enjoy listening to more music from Prism and other amazing Canadian musicians and bands.

3. Cultivate.

Such a powerful word on so many levels. I want to nurture growth for myself and encourage growth with others in my life. To cultivate humility in success and grace in failure. To think deeply and love even deeper. To trust with vulnerability. To foster vision, meaning and focus with all I do and with who and what is most important in my life. To hold ‘things’ loosely but hold people closer and tighter. To promote curiosity, vitality and honor. To be more teachable and transparent and to share life by making things happen.

4. Contagious.

Quite an apropos word as a carry-over from 2020. But in contrast to Covid, I envision an epidemic of a better contagion. I want to be contagious with laughter and love. To genuinely have fun in all I do and with all I am with. To continually seek wisdom, with unapologetic intensity. To have a contagious attitude that focuses on positivity, humility and strengths with less thought of criticality, arrogance and weakness. To have the kind of energy and enthusiasm that influences others that cross my path.

5. Heel-Toe.

This last word can be seen as two words, save the placement of a hyphen. I’m going to take this as a singular word through 2021. In racing terms, this is a method of using your right foot on both pedals of the gas and brake, while your left foot controls the clutch. Heel-Toeing reduces stress on your transmission, keeps the weight of your car balanced while changing gears, prevents wheel lock-up, and allows efficient and smooth acceleration through corners while shifting gears. 2020 forced us to navigate more moments of incredibly sharp turns, excessive drops, and moments of sheer terror than found on either the Nürburgring track or a Dakar desert rally. In 2021, I want to find ways to reduce stress, to keep balanced, avoid locking up, and find the apex that will take me through any sharp corners encountered, fast.

And what will your words be for 2021?  Here’s to you, your dreams, and your life for 2021, whatever words you choose to live by.

© 2021 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