We had the good fortune of connecting with Graham Byers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Graham, what’s your definition for success?
Success is defined by my ability to confront health obstacles, participate in activities that promote a “purpose-based identity,” and maintain quality and balanced relationships. Living a healthy life where I feel physically and mentally well greatly defines how successful I feel. Unfortunately, obstacles often arise. Everything from constant cravings for junk food to denial of recent deaths in my family try to stop me from being healthy. However, when I choose to confront these obstacles, I become conscious of how they detract from my health goal and often do not succumb to them. When I confront these obstacles, too, I usually learn something about myself, particularly when facing my denial around death. As Dr. Varun Soni says, “Death is the ultimate teacher for life,” and I have found I learn something new about my life when I confront my denial of death, which encourages me to continue fighting the obstacles. In this way, going forward, I will face these barriers as much as possible as the frequency with which I confront them is a good indicator of my health and my success.
In my pursuits, fostering what Dr. Ben Houltberg terms a “purpose-based identity” impacts my success. As Dr. Houltberg illustrates, finding personal meaning in your pursuit, taking action, and feeling that your pursuit ties to something beyond yourself are pillars of this identity. Often, when I pursue work as a cinematographer and entrepreneur, I feel successful by merely engaging with them. Sometimes, however, when I think they are not impacting those around me or lack personal meaning, I feel empty and less driven.
The success of my relationships with others has a significant impact on my success. I subscribe to what Ben Van de Bunt terms “inducing reciprocity,” wherein I go out of my way to make others feel great. Like Ben, I believe that by doing so, good karma comes back around in one way or another. That is not to say that I do this with everyone. Instead, I induce reciprocity with the relationships in which I feel I get something back in return in some form or with people I look up to. I recognize that these balanced relationships with my friends and family cannot occur in high quantities. As I go forward, I will strive to have 3-4 people in my life who allow me to induce reciprocity in a balanced manner since this number is manageable and leads to success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe film should get audiences to develop their love for and connection to nature (whether that’s through direct visual depictions of stunning wildlife or even the use of natural lighting or settings) because now, more than ever, is the time that we all need to appreciate and take care of our planet.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
– La Cha Cha Cha
– De La Nonna
– Salt & Straw
– Night + Market
– Banc of California
– The Greek Theater
– Laugh Factory
– Pacific Palisades Hike
– Bacari (Silverlake)
– The Friend
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe a tremendous amount of where I am in life to my mom, Ellie, who has given me an extraordinary amount of financial, professional, and emotional support throughout my life.
Addison O’Connor, Cooper Davis, AJ Bexton, Carly Sherman, Ruhi Mansey, Kelly Yu, Rohan Palla, Thythy Do, Andrew Nibbi, and Carolyn Knapp