What is The Sustainabilitist, how does it come about and where is it going

Hello. This is Thomas Lu, your friend here at The Sustainabilitist.

And here's a condensed story of my life, and how The Sustainabilitist came to be.


The beginning. My first decade.

When I was young, I've always identified myself as some sort of half-ass polymath: I was never the best in school, but somehow did well enough with a fair amount of effort to get by as a "good student".

At its core, I was really just a mixed bag of things, somewhat socially awkward, somewhat clown-like, somewhat arrogant, yet also a model student and a class vice-president at one point in my life.

But of course, that was only just the beginning, and my life had yet to begin...


How my life started to crumble like dominoes

In my first decade, I used to think that I could be good at just about everything: from school, sports to languages and all sorts of hobbies. That apparently did hold for me, until a series of life events hit one by one, crushing down both my self-image and ego:

  • At the age of 10, I suffered from appendicitis and had to get my appendix removed. This led to some permanent reduction in stamina, and a series of mysterious seizures afterwards.
  • At the age of 11, my body and voice started to change, leading to some turbulence in my inner psyche. I also promptly moved overseas to study abroad, and which led me to go from being slightly outgoing to slightly introverted.
  • Throughout most of my life, I've struggled with myopia that seemed to increase non-stop. It got so extreme to a point that I registered -11D at the age of 24. I was overwhelmed with the fear of retinal detachment and vision loss at this point.
  • Around the same time, I started to shed frontal hairs incessantly. I never really figured out why, except the fact that pattern baldness runs on the father side of my family.
  • After a moving incident, I started experiencing regular chest discomforts that's best described as "fluid buildup around the heart".
  • A few years later, I started to suffer from hand tremor and psoriasis, with no apparent causes.

To make the matter worse, many of my crushing blows extended beyond my physical body and health as well:

  • After my university years, I tried to start a business teaching university mathematics. That led to 5+ years of struggles, which never really amounted to anything that truly paid the bill.
  • At one point, I invested in some digital currencies that were starting to gain traction around that time, and proceeded to lose 10k in a span of one year.
  • Around the same time, I was also investing in stock options, and despite extensive preparations, I still managed to lose 10k consistently in a span of two years.

All these together led to one important realization, that my life as it was is unsustainable, and that the skills I've accumulated thus far were really only fit for solving small-scale problems.

If anything, my level of knowledge and the actions I've taken — however well-intentioned they may be — were leading to my own destruction.


Transformation from a futile struggle

Annoyingly, this downward spiral seemed to persist no matter how much helpful resources I exposed myself to, how much motivational things I allowed myself to listen to, and how much actions I have taken to reverse my situation. 

If anything, everything seemed to drive me towards some inevitable cliff that I couldn't avoid at this point — it was a futile struggle.

And then, slowly but surely, my character and habits began to change:

  • I stopped keeping count of the failures and the lack of result I was experiencing. They don't matter to me anymore (now that I'm numb to them), but I kept running.
  • The more urgent my troubles were, the more obsessed I became in figuring out their causes and eliminating them. I would mentally rehearse all of my problems every day, and try to adjust my daily plan to tackle each of them.

In fact, this would become my primary mode of operation for the years that come after, where with each step I take, I would swallow some painful lesson and numbingly move forward. Occasionally, these lessons would allow me to refine my approach, so that I can devise an adjustment and make a pivot. 

And just like that, the cruelty of life would end up forcing me to stand up on my own — all of the while developing a wide variety of knowledge and skills.


My slow-but-gradual recovery

So does that mean that all of my problems are currently solved? Far from it. But at the very least, but I do have a handful of milestones along the way:

  • I finally managed to come up with a framework for tackling myopia, and am currently on my way to slowly regaining my vision towards 20/20.
  • I've figured out the causes of my hand tremor and psoriasis, and am currently on my way of completing reversing them.
  • By the end of 2020, I've recovered all my losses in digital currencies, using a strategy some would deem "unthinkably risky".
  • Even though my math business never really took off, it does remain cash-flow-positive. Moving it online also led me to develop a series of key skills in website creation, product development, marketing and audience building that are crucial in entrepreneurship.

Most importantly, throughout this seemingly-endless stream of struggles, I began to see two important themes as I fight for my life at different fronts:

  • Unsustainable things happen not because we deserve it, but because of the law of cause and effect. Our job is to figure out their causes.
  • Much of what works in life relies on functional systems, and a system usually takes countless refinements before all the pieces can work together. And since quick fixes and kneejerk solutions rarely have all the pieces working together, they are often doomed to eventual failure.

In fact, it's thanks to these two realizations that I was able to climb back from my hole. But as I do, I was hit by another realization:

I realized that the world at large is still running much like the way I ran my life — both unknowledgeable about unsustainability and unwilling to stick to functional systems.

The Birth of The Sustainabilitist

From fighting for my life to fighting for the world

As it stands, it shouldn't take much to conclude that many aspects of our human activities are highly unsustainable. This doesn't just operate at the individual level, but at the systemic level as well.

Indeed, whether we talk about lifestyle, health, environment or policy, the more time passes, the riskier the world seems to become. This increase in urgency is what led to the birth to The Sustainabilitist, my personal website and my attempt at "giving the world a shot".

So from unsustainability came The Sustainabilitist, whose roles I think are manyfold:

  • To come up with new methods for solving one's health problems
  • To devise functional plans to improve one's finance (without destroying the world)
  • To provide blueprints for fulfilling one's goal and regaining one's freedom
  • To mitigate human domestication
  • To construct viable alternatives to replace unsustainable status quo
  • To solve humanity's the most pressing issues
  • To seek truth and discuss half-truths expounded by the different ideologies
  • To be a restorative force in the age of potential dooms
17 global goals for a more sustainability world

In brief, you can think of The Sustainabilitist as an extension of my struggle towards omni-directionally sufficiency, as it begins to house more and more potential solutions to the problems humans are facing. It's my way of turning my devastations into something constructive, and my way of living a life that is as balanced as it could be.

And if any of that sounds somewhat interesting, then I'd invite you to come along. The knowledge and tools featured on this site come with no agenda other than the will to become sustainable — along with the freedom and harmony that doing so can bring.

Yours truly,

Feather pen of blue and yellow color

Thomas Lu

Thinker, writer, creator, sustainabilitist

Better health, better finance, better community — the sustainable way

Start with our Introduction Series to see how the sustainabilitist philosophy can help you to improve the different areas of your life.