“Monday 5 Things”™….. What If? …..

Xpr31712Photo: D. Paul Graham, “Sparta Dreams” from the Georgia Backroads Series, circa 2021

“Monday 5 Things”™….. What If? …..

It was a relatively normal, very early, lengthy morning drive for some meetings. I arrived early and decided to stop to get some gum to cleanse my palate after one too many Red Bulls during the trip. Oncoming traffic made it easier to turn right into an old food store rather than left into a cleaner Shell station. Gum in hand, I returned to my car and noticed a man in his car next to me crying. As I backed up, I glanced at him again. A vision of a man broken and in despair; despondent and defeated. I felt compelled to not leave.

I pulled my car back up beside his and got out. I asked him if he needed some help. He shook his head no. I said it didn’t look that way to me.  He looked me in the eye and said he wasn’t having a good day. When I asked why, he hung his head and shared that his girlfriend of many years had committed suicide and that he had been driving around thinking about doing the same thing himself. It took my breath away. He shared the guilt he felt that he couldn’t help the woman he loved so much. I asked him about her, and as he talked about her it was clear that he deeply loved her but that she had been dealing with some serious emotional problems for years. He also shared that he felt so ashamed that he couldn’t bring himself to tell any of his friends. I asked him if he had a good friend that would be there for him, and he said yes. I asked him to call him. He refused. I said if he didn’t, I would have no choice but to call the police because I was afraid he was going to hurt himself. He made the call. We talked about where he could get help, and why it was important that he talk about what he was going through. I let him talk until he calmed down; the tears had stopped. His demeanor changed, the look in his eyes appreciative, he no longer seemed on edge. He thanked me for simply listening and committed to getting some help. As I drove away, I found myself asking a number of “What if’s”? This morning’s M5T asks the same question.

1. What if today you choose to really want an answer?

How often do we ask someone how they are and accept a canned response of ‘fine’, ‘ok’, or ‘all right’? What if we really wanted to know and were prepared to stop and take the time to listen to how someone is really doing? What would that do for you? What would that do for the other person? What will you answer when you’re asked that question today?

2. What if today you took a risk?

We all have fears in our lives, some hidden deeply, some just below the surface, the veneer, the façade of who we present ourselves to be. What if today you took a risk? What opportunities would you be open to accepting? What would you create? What would you be emboldened to do, to become, to say? What if you were honest, not only with yourself, but to those who matter the most in your life? Who would you tell that you love them? Where would you want to go? Who would you want to be with, to share with?

3. What if today you took just one more step toward your dream?

What if you simply allowed yourself to dream again? What do you visualize, plan for, and work toward? What if today you decided things don’t need to be perfect before you take one more step forward to act on your dream? What if today you didn’t care what others thought about your idea? What if today you stopped making excuses for yourself? What if you stopped worrying about what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future and focus on making things happen today?

4. What if today you said no to what others want of you and yes to what you know is right for you?

What do you want to say yes to? What do you need to say no to? What if today you choose to really think through where your time is spent? Who are the people that make the most positive difference in your life? Who are the toxic people in your life that you need to let go of? What are the destructive thoughts, behaviors, and habits that you need to take control of? What if today you focused on those things and people that bring you peace, make you laugh, make you want to be a better person?

5. What if today you choose to believe in yourself?

What if today you focused on your strengths and not your weaknesses? What does a strength-based life look like to you? What if today you took a risk on yourself? What if today you focused on your passions, the things you ‘get to do’ rather than the things that you have to do? What if today you forgave yourself for past failures and allowed yourself to accept the blessings that you have in your life right now?

Here’s to a week of listening to and choosing to act on the What If’s in your life.

© 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 atwww.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com