Sustainability is Not Scary. It is Your Inner Goodness.
'Sustainability' is not some foreign beast. It is an expression of your inner goodness. This story shares how you can look at sustainability in a more helpful and less scary way.
(1) Outward Mindset - Sustainability is a foreign world you need to conquer
I used to imagine sustainability as visiting a scary alien world.
Like Jake Sully’s first visit to Pandora as a Na’ vi in Avatar, I was simultaneously excited and scared of the wonders and unknowns of this foreign world called 'sustainability.'
When I first step into the world of sustainability, I immediately saw a mountain so tall that it breaches the clouds, not knowing how far I need to climb to reach its peak. The mountain was a self-perceived learning curve and the peak was mastering the so-called 'art of sustainability.'
A few more steps later, I started seeing communities of proud eco-warriors and environmentalists who are vocal about the cause. I wanted to fit in with them, but one look at myself made me think otherwise. I didn't have the right skills and expertise to be sustainable. I'm not their kind.
And as I ventured deeper into the world, I felt my uneasiness building. I halted and turned around to face where I came from. I had doubts about this journey. There's so much to do and learn. Will I fit among the tribes? Do I even belong?
It's not easy for a newcomer.
For a newcomer, entering the sustainability 'field' is not simple and straightforward at all.
It's normal to feel powerless at the sight of the mighty term - sustainability.
It's common to have the misconception that it is a game reserved for the rich and educated, the scientists, and the corporate leaders.
It's also common to feel the need to practice sustainability ‘correctly’ and ‘perfectly’ from the start.
Part of the issue is how we view sustainability as beginners.
The word – sustainability – in itself is broad and vague. It is a relatively new term and idea popularized by the need to focus more on climate change efforts in recent years. Thus, the term sustainability was not always in our DNA. Most people started learning about it recently, and most don't truly understand it.
Sustainability is crucial and urgent. But most newcomers try to de-commit from sustainability before giving it a try. The problem comes from how we look at sustainability as beginners.
We look at it like a complex world that needs conquering, and we think sustainability is like some ultimate goal that we can achieve at the end of this journey. We assume this journey is reserved for a few chosen ones, and we need to be one of them to succeed.
Well, sustainability is nothing like that.
Sustainability is not some outward end goal that we reach after years of practice. It is not some foreign beast that needs conquering and years of mastery. And it is for sure not reserved for the chosen one.
Looking at sustainability as some outward goal makes it unnecessarily harder and further from our realities.
The truth is, we can all be sustainable right here, right now, because sustainability is inside all of us.
(2) Inward Mindset - Sustainability is kindness and gratitude
View sustainability through the lens of kindness and gratefulness.
In its simplest form, sustainability is an act to help ourselves and others. The ultimate goal of sustainability is simply to ‘sustain’ life itself.
Thus, instead of looking at sustainability as a challenging and extraneous task, it is simply the opportunity to act with kindness and gratitude for ourselves and our world, to prolong and sustain life.
Anything that makes a positive difference is a sustainable act.
From a personal perspective, sustainability could mean an improvement in our wellbeing, health, work, or whatever it takes to sustain a better quality of life. This can mean exercising, earning money, and resting. So if you have a fucking headache, take a break. Giving yourself some time and love is sustainable. Getting brain cancer is not.
Sustainability can also translate into doing more for others. It can be a helping hand for fellow human beings, giving words of encouragement, reducing single-use plastics, and replanting the rainforests for our wildlife.
Sustainability as a usable mantra.
If the things we can do help ourselves, do it!
If the things we can do help others, do it!
If the things we can do help the world, do it!
Sustainability is NOT a mind-conjured giant beast to overcome. It is just the positive decisions we make at each moment of our lives all the way leading to our deaths. That’s sustainability – full of kindness and gratitude!