The 23 Inner Development Goals and how Intercultural Understanding supports them

The 23 Inner Development Goals and how Intercultural Understanding supports them

Sometimes the pressures of modern living can make us feel that we, as individuals, are helpless. That we are incapable of effecting change around us. Which is why the concept behind Inner Development Goals is so important. Instead of shrugging our shoulders in apathy, we can take action on a personal level, knowing that it’ll have reverberations on a global level. 

Pine leaf - inner development goals

Humility is one of the 23 Inner Development Goals that will help us achieve one of the aims of environmental sustainability set by the UN

The Inner Development Goals are basically 23 skills that we can all work on – encompassing such traits as our inner compass, humility and perseverance – with the idea that through working on ourselves, we’ll make better decisions, which in turn will help achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The SDGs were announced in 2015 and are aimed at ending poverty and inequality with strategies to improve health and education, while keeping a strong focus on environmental preservation and tackling climate change. 

“Outside perspective is complemented by an inside perspective, we need inner development work to reach sustainability goals.” Tomas Bjorkman

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals were declared in 2015 but there is a sense that very slow progress is being made towards their fulfillment

The Inner Development Goals: bringing an inner perspective into play

The Inner Development Goals were founded by the 29k Foundation (who also have an amazing free app that can help you with your mental health and connect with an online, supportive community), Ekskäret Foundation, and The New Division. Subtitled ‘Transformational Skills for Sustainable Development,’ it was developed as a response to the slow progress towards the SDGs. 

As Tomas Bjorkman, one of the founders expresses: “outside perspective is complemented by an inside perspective, we need inner development work to reach sustainability goals.” If businesses and governments are held accountable as well as the individual there is much more chance of progress towards the SDGs being made.

Below is the list of the crucial five dimensions of the Inner Development Goals.

  1. Being – Relationship to Self: Cultivating our inner life and developing and deepening our relationship to our thoughts, feelings and body help us to be present, intentional and non-reactive when we face complexity.
  2. Thinking – Cognitive Skills: Developing our cognitive skills by taking different perspectives, evaluating information and making sense of the world as an interconnected whole is essential for wise decision-making.
  3. Relating – Caring for Others and the World: Appreciating, caring for and feeling connected to others, such as neighbors, future generations or the biosphere, helps us create more just and sustainable systems and societies for everyone.
  4. Collaborating – Social Skills: To make progress on shared concerns, we need to develop our abilities to include, hold space and communicate with stakeholders with different values, skills and competencies.
  5. Acting – Driving Change: Qualities such as courage and optimism help us acquire true agency, break old patterns, generate original ideas and act with persistence in uncertain times.

Here at Intercultural Understanding, the way we work is very much aligned with these core values.

Building intercultural competence and recognizing and accepting diversity is a developmental process. It requires increasing knowledge of your own cultural attitudes and values. When working with educational institutions or businesses, our workshops and talks are all about personal developmental growth. We get our clients to question their own values and think about how others may feel. Increasing our knowledge regarding how other people make meaning of the world expands our cognitive skills and provides us with an opportunity to see things from new perspectives.

Sometimes this can be a challenging task and we may feel resistance. Managing our emotions is a fundamental part of our work and is built into all our workshops and coaching activities. The idea that we need to start from the inside to really bring about meaningful change resonates strongly with us. If you have any questions about our programmes or workshops, drop us a line!