What is a better person? While we all may have different values and cultures, it is interesting to think that our understanding of what a good person is does not vary too widely. Perhaps that is why the Romans and the Greeks have become The Classics, given that their pursuit of virtue is universally understood as the core of being a good person. Life can be distracting but in the simplicity of the coffee farms there is plenty to learn on how to become a better person.
The Chinese thinker, Confucius once said "Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues." Therefore, this is a good place to start. Humility at its core is about recognizing the best of yourself without letting it get to your head, and simultaneously recognizing the worst about you and again, understanding that there is more to ourselves than that.
In the age of social media, validation and personal branding can get a bit out of control if they leave us feeling as the center of attention to the point in which we lose ourselves. On the other hand, coffee farms require strong team work in order to successfully operate. Every piece/person of the machinery is crucial and valued. The nature of the work at the farms doesn’t foster the type of competition that corporate America is famous for, and consequently, coffee farmers are able to develop a strong sense of self. That is the key, having a strong sense of self means knowing and understanding yourself aside from what you do or any other important but secondary aspect of your life.
None of us have everything guaranteed in life and yet we go on in full trust that somehow all is well. This is even more true for coffee farmers as their livelihood depends on things out of their hands: a good harvest and the hope that their coffee is sold for a fair price. Thank you, Guadalupe Roastery and all coffee brokers who make sure this happens.
Living in peace and being able to let go of things out of our control is true courage. Having faith and putting down the anxieties provoked by all the ups and downs in life is quite revolutionary. In many ways, life has never been as easy and as comfortable as it is nowadays, and nonetheless, there are many suffering from high anxiety and depression. Mental health is important and the right attitude and understanding of our emotions and situations is crucial towards healing. Courage is about facing life without being intimidated by the struggles and uncertainties it inevitably brings.
There is no room for self-centeredness in coffee farms. The notion of a safety net as we know it in America is almost non-existent. The closest thing to a safety net for coffee farmers is knowing that they are supported by their community. That includes fellow coffee farmers, land owners, and the coffee buyers. Treating the people around you with this notion of interdependence instead of independence from each other is an eye opening experience. It reveals a notion of charity beyond simply giving money away.
I challenge you to try this coffee-farmers-inspired-interdependence. Next time you are at a party or big gathering, notice who seems to be feeling awkward or left out and reach out to them. Be attentive to the needs of the people around you and extend a hand. These small gestures can go a long way.
What do you think? Bettering yourself is a noble pursuit and by growing in virtue you are guaranteed to get it right. Farm life is usually mystified by the quality of life it produces, but in all reality, quality of life is a mental construct. We all make decisions that move us closer to the life we want and it all starts with who we are and think we are. I hope these tips provide a new outlook to an old tale and refreshes your pursuit of personal development and quality of life.