Sustainability; Character or Selfishness.


It’s a wonderful feeling being financially free enough to not have to go to work on a Monday morning.  Especially with the attitude of “I hate Mondays” being the predominant start of most peoples week.  I don’t miss that, though all I have to do is log onto Facebook to find a plethora of I hate Monday slogans.

Of course it’s easy for me to sit here, in beautiful Costa Rica enjoying the birds, and sunshine and discuss how great Life is.  What I don’t get is that it could be easy for a lot of people to do the same.  No it wouldn’t be easy for many to receive income the way I do, through disability, I don’t think many want to go through three open heart surgeries to get where I am, but they could save their money.  Or start their own business.

What about starting my own business though?  I’m in this crux of a situation.  I could stay here in Costa Rica, live in the mountains on an organic farm and never worry about money again.  Or take full advantage of LIFE the business, and what it is offering and re-earn my freedom to come back to Costa Rica, truly free.

See I’m not really free, I have to wonder whether or not other people are going to make decisions that will ensure my income keeps coming in.  I saw in the news recently that the expectation is disability will be bankrupt by 2016.  That’s only 4 more years!  One presidential cycle.

Not only should I be concerned with the financial health of my “retirement” there is a little something called Character, that keeps chomping to mind and telling me I can do something else.  I can go out and run my own business, and successfully get myself off of disability and be a solution, rather than a problem.  Sure everyone tells me that “disability is there for people like you to take care of you” really I just want the ability to take care of myself to be self-sustainable.  Not only that, but knowing there is a business I could operate that fits my passions, aligns with my purpose, and would allow me to utilize my God given talents, if I didn’t go do it, wouldn’t I be just like all the people we complain about who abuse the system?  The ones who sit on disability knowing they could really work.  I can really do this business, I just need 1 to go do the work, and 2 learn how to be a better person.

That’s the challenge right there.  Becoming a better person, a person with a higher level of Character.  Now I am a character, for sure, I’m Conrad Von Supertramp, but that’s not quite what we’re talking about.

This week, during the Mental Fitness Challenge, we are working on Character.  Resolving to choose character of reputation any time the two conflict.

“The greatest crisis in America is a crisis of leadership and the greatest crisis of leadership is a crisis of character.”  Howard Hendricks.

In his book Resolved 13 Resolutions for Life, best selling author and #6 Leadership guru Orrin Woodward describes character this way.  “Character moves beyond integrity, requiring courage to fulfill its high calling.  Integrity is not doing wrong, while character is doing what’s right.  He then uses an example of a boy being bullied, another kid doesn’t bully, which means he has integrity, but he doesn’t stop the bullying either.  Which is lack of character.  So knowing that not only I but all “disabled” people could operate this business called “LIFE” but not doing it would maybe mean I have integrity, but not Character, because I wouldn’t be acting courageously enough to get out there and overcome my fears.

I will admit, living in chronic pain, and living a life that doesn’t reflect with the average 30 year old male makes relatability challenging sometimes.

“Hey Conrad me and the guys are gonna go play basketball tonight, wanna come?”  Robert asks.

Now comes the part Conrad hates the most.  “I can’t”  Not that he doesn’t want to, but that physically isn’t able to keep up enough.  The admission of that, hurts, the pain of not being able to do something stinks to admit it.  Whether your just out of shape, or physically unable, having to say No I can’t to something stinks.  I’m a can I can do!  So how does one overcome this?  How does this fit in with character?  Overcoming this attitude is where my fear lies.

In order to be a leader, character is a must!  In order to be successful in any business one must have the ability to lead others.  Can a person like me, un-relatable as I am find success in their own business?  It isn’t so much a challenge of the doing of an activity, it is a matter of tolerating “healthy” people who aren’t willing to put forth what is seen as an equal effort.

My character says I should do more, try harder, push longer, but my health says, whoa partner, slow down, take it easy, rest for a while.  Enjoy life and the blessings that come with it.  Find joy in the simple act of being alive.  By doing so sustain my own life, power, food, water etc.

Am I a hypocrite?  Am I a fake?  Do I really want to serve others?  It would be great to be allowed the opportunity to encourage healthy people to do more.  To encourage sick people to do more.  Would it be easy though?  NO that  I know for sure.  Somewhere in there I have to learn to put others first.  To become relatable.  To overcome the dents in my character.

John Wooden says, Never Lie, Never Cheat, Never Steal.  Three great concepts but unfortunately many people don’t actually follow them.  I’ve unfortunately done all three of those things in my life.  Do I really believe that I have the resolve to improve myself enough that others would be willing to allow me to serve them?

If I don’t build my own business am I lying about being disabled?  If I’m lying about that wouldn’t I be cheating the system?  If I’m cheating the system wouldn’t I be stealing from others efforts?

Balance of Sustainability

Balance of Sustainability (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, stay in Costa Rica, serve a small community, build a sustainable community, grow my own food, healthy living etc. while America falls into an abyss.  Or sacrifice the pleasure and joy of living on a mountain, near the ocean in a tropical environment to return to America for the express purpose of finding people willing to allow me to provide a service to them.  Sustainable community is where my dreams led me, but there seems to be more that could be done.

“It is not that one ought not to do just what one pleases; it is simply that one cannot do other than what each of us has to do, has to be. The only way out is to refuse to do what has to be done, but this does not set us free to do something else just because it pleases us. In this matter we only possess a negative freedom of will, a noluntas. We can quite well turn away from our true destiny, but only to fall a prisoner in the deeper dungeons of our destiny. … Theoretic truths not only are disputable, but their whole meaning and force lie in their being disputed, they spring from discussion. They live as long as they are discussed, and they are made exclusively for discussion. But destiny — what from a vital point of view one has to be or has not to be — is not discussed, it is either accepted or rejected. If we accept it, we are genuine; if not, we are the negation, the falsification of ourselves. Destiny does not consist in what we feel we should like to do; rather is it recognised in its clear features in the consciousness that we must do what we do not feel like doing.”  Jose Ortega y Gasset

I can promise you I don’t feel like moving back to US.  I don’t feel like putting myself out there to the world to accept or reject.  So to live with character would mean to do just that?  To fulfill a purpose greater than what I really want.  I just want simplicity, ease of living in a comfortable place.  However; in that simplicity sustainability is my goal/dream.  To be self sufficient.  Is that enough?  Is learning and applying the knowledge of self sustaining life enough of a challenge, for not only myself but others enough to live up to the character of a person who is living their destiny rather than negating it?

Jose Ortega y Gasset also said “Abasement, degradation is simply the manner of life of the man who has refused to be what it is his duty to be.”

What is my duty?  To God, self, family and world.  It is challenging to put duty to country in an age when my country is doing things against its’ own best long-term interests and citizens.  Even more so against true freedom.

So again, is being sustainable a large enough duty, enough of a service to others?  It will definitely pile up duties and obligations.  Is being sustainable having integrity, not participating in the bullying system of food and life currently taking place, or does it include character by taking action to produce something better?

At this point I’ll leave the question to my readers, and present them with a challenge.  Take the 90 day mental fitness challenge and decide in your own life; are you piling up duties on your character?  Are you challenging yourself to do more for the greater good?


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