Inner Growth versus Global Problem Solving

Self-ImprovementLeadership

  • Author Magali Daems
  • Published September 24, 2022
  • Word count 679

Would you say that your capacity for inner leadership and well-being is directly connected to your social environment and even global challenges?

As a social anthropologist and global studies master, I spent several years studying local and global sociocultural dynamics, human conflict, globalization, power, and resistance. I wanted to understand what drives us people at our core, why we do the things we do, the world we have created, and contribute to changing it for the better. One important lesson I learned is that a lot of the world's problems are caused by poor leadership.

Later, when working as an innovation funding expert, I was introduced to United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a series of 17 global goals aiming to end poverty, protect the planet, ensure gender equality, good health, peace, and prosperity for every human being, as well as an impressive variety of hi-tech solutions to address these societal and global challenges. And yet… I always had a gnawing feeling that something was missing.

It wasn’t until my own inner world collapsed and I was forced to shift my focus from social and global problem solving to inner problem solving, that a new insight arose: our own well-being is directly connected to the well-being of our surroundings. Our capacity of inner leadership is a prerequisite for any other kind of leadership, whether it be political, organizational, cultural, or within the realm of our own family or parenthood. Moreover, if we lack the inner capacity to deal with our own lives, as well as our increasingly complex environment, it doesn't matter how innovative and impactful our technological tools are. Because tools don't drive change, people do.

In that sense, helping others from the inside out, developing their inner leadership qualities through coaching and mental training, feels just as meaningful as solving problems from the outside in.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until my last visit to Stockholm that I was able to officially connect the dots by discovering a new global initiative: the "Inner Development Goals" (IDG), a non-profit organization for human inner growth and sustainable leadership (go ahead and Google that). The IDG present 23 skills and qualities for inner development, such as inner compass, openness and learning mindset, self-awareness, critical thinking, sense-making, long-term orientation and visioning, connectedness, trust, communication skills and active listening, courage, and creativity. The IDG were developed as a fundamental framework to support the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Seen from a personal development perspective, these are the same skills that maximize any individual’s potential. In my view, this proves an important point: if we can’t take care of ourselves, how are we to take care of others? If we incapable of leading ourselves, how are we to lead others? And if we are unable to create sustainability within the realm of our own inner world, then how are we to join forces as a global community to create social, environmental, and economical sustainability?

A vast majority of the world's countries have signed up for and committed to the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and yet it is unlikely that these goals will be met by 2030. We all share a vision of what needs to happen, and yet progress has so far been disappointing.

Humans are emotional beings with psychological needs. It seems like we have come to a point where an overly focus on external technocratic solutions is just not going to be sufficient. That doesn’t mean we don’t need technological innovation, we absolutely do! But we need to recognize the bridge that deeply connects our human psyche with what goes on outside of ourselves. As Einstein said: we cannot solve the world's problems with the same level of thinking that created them.

We humans exist in a dynamic relationship to ourselves and our surroundings, a never-ending dance that shapes our reality. The power of inner leadership is to consciously navigate that environment by asking the right questions and take the right decisions in order to design a world that both our and all future generations deserve.

Magali Daems is a certified professional coach with a background in social anthropology. She has studied conflict resolution and power and resistance in a socio-cultural context. She has worked as a innovation funding expert and EU project manager before starting her own company eMkind through which she works with Inner Leadership and Life Design.

www.eMkind.se

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