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 about.


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 a digital currency called Ethereum, 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 were 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 music I listened to, and how much actions I have taken to help resolve the 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 solving them. I would mentally rehearse all my problems every day, and try to adjust my daily plan to tackle all of them.

If anything, this has been my mode of operation for many years, where with each step I take, I swallow some painful lesson. Occasionally, these lessons allow me to refine my checklist, so that I can devise an adjustment and make a pivot. 

In many instances, the cruelty of life also forces me to stand up on my own, which leads to the development of a wide variety of skills.


My slow-but-gradual recovery

So does that mean that all of my problems are currently solved? Far from it, but I've had 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 Ethereum, using a strategy some would deem "risky" or "unthinkable".
  • Even though my math business never really took off, it does remain cash-flow-positive. Moving it online also led me to developing a series of key skills in website creation, product development, marketing and audience building.

Most importantly, throughout this seemingly-endless stream of struggles, two important themes began to emerge 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 rarely functional.

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 chaos
17 global goals for a more sustainability world

In essence, The Sustainabilitist is an extension of my struggle towards omni-directionally sufficiency, and houses a collection of potential solutions to the problems in this world. It's my way of turning devastations into legacy, and my way of living a life of balance and dedication to humanity.

So if any of that sounds just about right, then I'd invite you to come along. The knowledge and tools featured on this site come with no agenda other than the need to be sustainable, along with the relentless pursuit of freedom and harmony this world has to give.

Yours truly,

Feather pen of blue and yellow color

Thomas Lu

Thinker, designer, 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.