The #challenger I want to introduce you today is not a fitness model, or a toddler who gives motivational speeches at TED and builds a sustainable diaper company at night.
Like I said before on Facebook, it is important that we keep our ears peeled to older generations, because we might learn a trick, or two. Probably best to avoid the racism and internalised mysoginism that comes with some of our grandparents, but overall we can all agree that our they can deliver some truth bombs that should be passed on to other generations.
And the challenger of today is like the grandfather of all of us. A sweet, brave and humble man who has dedicated his life to do achieve great things and pass on an important message.
Pals, meet José Mujica.
José Mujica is the former president of the progressive Latino-American country of Uruguay. He gained popularity in the last few years for being “the poorest president of the world’, given his enormous actions of generosity to charity and continuing a lavish and frugal lifestyle with his wife. Mujica has now resigned from the presidency to continue living happily on his farm with his three-legged dog and hopefully start an agrarian school for kids to learn how to farm again.
On a boring day off, I have stumbled on an interview of Mujica with Al-Jazeera (that you can watch below) and I was so touched and inspired by his persona and his words that I thought it would teach a lesson or two for thosw
I know we are all busy and barely have any time to squeeze between a mortage and an episode of Game of Thrones, so I summed up the highlights of his interview, so that you don’t have to watch it. (I highly recommend watching it though).
REASONS TO LOVE HIM:
1. On being the “poor” president of the world
This is where popularity started. All of a sudden, stoners in their 20s who share highlighted conspiracy on the internet started posting about this president, who refused to be like the average politcian – aka money, hoes and lies – and just live a humble frugal life. So Mujica, the Uruguay’s poor president, like many other countries arrogantly called him, made news from the US to Australia.
But surprise! Poor in a first-world country is not what poor means for Mr Mujica.
In fact, at the idea of being called “poor”, Mujica almost gives us the “side-eye” emoji, because this how he puts it:
“Poor is who needs too much, because they are never satisfied. I am frugal, not poor. I live with what’s necessary to me, not too tied down to material things”
The more things you have, the more responsibility you have to keep maintaining them, upgrading them and then getting rid of them. Stressful? Yeah. Mujita thinks “no things? No worries and more free time for me to do the stuff the matter the most”.
3. On legalising marijuana and drug addictions
Uruguay has become one of the first country in the world to regulate and legalise the consumption of marijuana and that’s probably where his popularity comes from.
The main focus for Mujica’s stance on marijuana is not to encourage its consumption, or allow citizens to have more access to the drugs.
Like many South-American countries, Uruguay was heavily affected by the drug wars and illegal narco-traffic that has soared violence, addictions and poverty, mainly due to the constant demand of the consumption in developed countries.
By legalising and allowing the government to regulate the consumption, Mujita has sought an opportunity to steal the market from the drug-lords and by tracking the amount of consumption, it is also allowed to track people with addictions and treat them with the proper health-care.
This idea might be logical, but it is so refreshing coming from a politician.
People with drug addictions have been marginalised and criminalised for years and often the ban on the drugs only leads to an increase in consumption.
“Drug trafficking is much worse than drug consumption. I don’t think that marijuana is good for you. Nor cigarettes, or alcohol. No addiction is good for you. The only good addiction is love. Forget everything else. “
It might sound cheesy, but how true is it? If we all used compassion and positivity like we sips on flat whites and smoke bongs, the world would probably be a better place; whether you like this hippie philosophy or not. It is a fact.
4. He donates 90% of his salary to charity.
This is probably the reason why everyone has been drawn to this tiny, old president, because let’s be honest..everyone loves talking about money and is interested in other people’s money.
Some might awe in admiration at this gesture; other might mock him, but either way, it teaches another important lesson on how centring our whole existence around a number in your bank account, or profit margins, can only lead to desiring more and more, until we don’t even know what the hell we want anymore.
Mujica doesn’t believe that everyone should give up 90% of their income to charity, because if you don’t make much money and you can barely get by the end of the week..it would be very generous, but also very stupid.
Mujica is not against consumption. You can still buy that gorgeous pair of boots, or that iPhone, but be aware of your never-ending needs to consume and want more materialistic satisfactions.
No, what Mujica is against is waste.
We have to produce food for the hungry, roofs for those who need a home, build schools for those who need a school. We need to solve the water problem. If every powerful person has three, four, five, cars and needs 400 square metres to live and a house at the beach and an airplane to go here and there, then there isn’t enough for anyone. Modern science tells us that if the current world population aspired to consume like the average American household, we would need three Earths to cope with the consumption and waste. If we continue tossing out things, naturally a great part of the humanity will never have anything.”.
So basically, you can be inspired and motivated to gain more financial security and purchase objects that help you in achieving more things and realize your dreams. But don’t waste your time, your money, or resources, when they can be put into better things. The call out is definitely to the 1% of the world who use their power to gain even MORE power and live excessive lifestyles to level up their need of self-realization. Yeah, let’s all stop being envious of the millionaire walking to his Ferrari and going home to an unnecessary mansion on the water, because no matter how rich and powerful you are, you really don’t need 10 bedrooms and a golden spa. Come-on.
5. On his vision
Mujica doesn’t want to become the next Jesus Christ. He is not here to preach and tell people what to do, but he is aware of the power of his vision and his values, and how it can affect younger generations.
“My goal is to achieve a little less injustice in Uruguay to help the vulnerable, and to leave behind a political wayof thinking, a way of looking at the future that will be passed on and used to move forward. There’s nothing short-term, no victory around the corner. I will not achieve the paradise or anything like that. What I want is to fight for the common progress. Life slips by. The way to prolong it is for others to continue your work.”
Nothing is easy. By using the good in you and sharing it with others in the way you can, we can move forward into a better world for coming generations. We can all clap our hands and butts to that, right.
And lastly, his take on what is the key of happiness:
“What is happiness? To live in accordance with how one thinks. To talk to the man you carry inside. It’s the companion we carry to our grave. Be yourself and don’t try to impose your criteria on the rest. I don’t expect people to live like me, I respect their freedom, but I defend mine. and that comes with having the courage to say what you think. even if sometimes others don’t share your views”.
So be humble, don’t waste too much time, or money on things that you don’t really need. Listen others, but defend your opinions. And just help others, when you can. (If you are reading this, you are probably more likely to be able to help).