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One Drop From Distress? Take the Sustainability Test

Jamie Cearley, PhDSustainability, it is the new success. Folks all over America seem to be ditching the old notion that power, position and material things quantify success. Sustainability – that blissful intersection between skills, financial discipline, and environment – is the new measure of true success.

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Even though we never bought into the on-the-brink-of-disaster lifestyle that many of our friends have, with mountains of debt and the immediate need for every new electronic gadget that comes out, we recently found ourselves in somewhat of a pickle.

While traveling out of town, it just so happened that both our GPS and our mobile phone map application went bust. To top it off we were caught in a major traffic jam caused by construction, and it appeared we were going to be asked to detour. Fearing we were destined for a late arrival to our destination, we scrambled, wiggled plugs, pressed buttons like rats in a laboratory experiment, and powered on and off and on and off. You know the routine. Having reached the point of surrender, my husband, cradling the two utterly useless gadgets in his lap, proclaimed, “There’s a paper map under the seat. I picked it up at the rest area.” “What?” I proclaimed. “All this time we have had a real map under the seat and you didn’t say anything!” We were saved. Thank goodness we had the skills to read a map; apparently a lot of young folks these days don’t.

We’ve all been in this situation or one like it, I’m sure. Come on, I know I’m not the only one who wonders how many times I will have to flick a light switch when the power is off for the proverbial light bulb in my head to turn on and convince me that nothing is going to happen. How many times do you have to attempt to flush when there is no water, or pick up the phone when there’s no service?

These moments in life beg the question. How sustainable are we after all? Take the sustainability test to get a clue.

How many of the 14 “ones” listed below would you handle effectively today? What about in a crisis?

So many of us are so vulnerable that we are literally…

One battery from a breakdown.

One charge cord from catastrophe.

One plug from a problem.

One stitch from stark-naked.

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One gallon from a glitch.

One satellite from shambles.

One text from tragedy.

One debit card from debacle.

One credit card from calamity.

One meal from a mess.

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One volt from volatility.

One bulb from a blackout.

One faucet from a fiasco.

One paycheck from poverty.

How did you do?

Would you handle all 14 with grace? Excellent.

Would you get tripped up by just three or four? Good.

Would more than four of these would throw your life into a tailspin? Poor.

Sustainability, it is the new success. Indeed a defensible measure with authentic value, rather than a façade.

Can you think of any other “ones” to add to the list? Share them in the comments.

Would you like to read more stories like this? Please visit my website for more Mental Morsels with Dr. Cearley. Learning life principles from the farm.