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  • Writer's pictureAnne Koch

Inner development - How you contribute to a sustainable society

Do you feel the same way we do? You want to get involved in society, but something is blocking you. You just can't get beyond the stage of 'I should ...'.

For us, there are always external reasons that prevent us from getting more involved. Whether it's too much work, family obligations, the confusing abundance of opportunities, and so on and so forth. If many think like us, it's hardly surprising that we are still far from achieving the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs were developed by the UN as part of the 2030 Agenda for achieving a sustainable society.

But is it really only external circumstances that are holding us back? No, rather, we believe that we need more than a new prioritization: to engage effectively and solve the complex challenges, we need to build or develop personal and interpersonal skills and capabilities, our empathy capacity, for example, or the ability to tackle new challenges with courage and optimism.

That's why we were very excited when we learned about the following initiative: The Inner Development Goals, a co-creative collaboration between the 29K Foundation, the Ekskäret Foundation and The New Division, a sustainability consultancy.

'Without a radical shift in the structure of our inner world, we cannot bring about that equally radical shift in our outer world.'

The IDGs provide a framework for building transformative capabilities for sustainable development. They consist of four categories of capabilities:

  1. Being - Relationship to Self: Cultivating our inner life and developing and deepening our relationship with our thoughts, feelings, and body help us to be present, act with intention, and not react when faced with complexity.

  2. Thinking - Cognitive Skills: Developing our cognitive skills by taking different perspectives, evaluating information, and understanding the world as a cohesive whole is essential to wise decision making.

  3. Relationship - Caring for Others and the World: Valuing, caring for, and feeling connected to others, such as neighbors, future generations, or the biosphere, helps us create more equitable and sustainable systems and societies for all.

  4. Collaboration - Social Skills: To move forward on shared concerns, we need to develop our capacity to engage, space, and communicate with stakeholders with different values, skills, and competencies.

  5. Action - driving change: Qualities such as courage and optimism help us gain true agency, break old patterns, develop original ideas, and act with perseverance in uncertain times.

And how can you now work on your IDGs?

  • First of all, think about how strong you consider yourself to be in these 5 categories. What are you already doing today to cultivate these qualities?

  • Pick one of the categories and focus on it in the next weeks: How can you improve a little bit in this category?

Twin tip: Use the self-assessment test from 24k's app (under Tests - Inner Development Goals) and stay tuned via IDG's newsletter on current topics, like the Field Kit for more concrete support on inner development.

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