Personal development for global development

Personal development for global development

One of IDare’s community members recently participated in the Global Summit. It was an intense week full of new insights, innovation, and inspiration. Want to acquire some of it? Then keep reading!

This is the second part of a series of reflections from the Global Summit. Did you miss the first one? You can find it here.


If you want to change the world, you need to be able to change yourself first. If you want to exercise any kind of determination over the circumstances facing humanity, you need to exercise self-determination first. You cannot have power over your environment before you take the power of your inner self.

The words are uttered by Anne Koller, founder of TAPIN, an organization aiming to “create a more emotionally-connected world”. She is on stage at the Global Summit in Amman, where civic, economic and political leaders have gathered to find shared solutions for sustainable global development. They are concerned with solving environmental crises, poverty, violent conflicts, and gender-based discrimination. And here is this woman talking about feelings, thoughts and individual inner space. How can all this be connected?


The power of emotions

Anne started uncovering the link between the global and the personal when she suddenly lost her father. Before this, she was on full track to becoming a great leader: She had studied international affairs at a prestigious American university, she spoke four languages, she had her eyes set on climbing the corporate ladder in big, multinational organizations. But when Anne’s father died, she fell apart. The agonizing grief took over her life – she could not work, think, even breathe.


                                             Image source: MIT Media Lab


For a long time, Anne fought her emotions. But then, at some point, she stopped fighting. She decided to start ‘tapping in’ to the emotions instead of trying to keep them away. She started exploring them, trying to understand what lay behind them, even having conversations with them. And she came to realize that they had a lot to teach her. That connecting with her emotions empowered her to live a more authentic, conscious, confident and happy life.

Connecting with her emotions empowered her to live a more authentic, conscious, confident and happy life.

This inner interaction enabled Anne to understand herself and the world surrounding her better. And not only that: She discovered that her emotional space was a powerful source of creativity, efficiency, and leadership. Anne started the Ashes Project, an artistic platform for dialogue and awareness about healing from grief. She went on to work with some of the world’s most powerful institutions, such as The World Economic Forum and Google. Today, she credits her emotional awareness with her success as an entrepreneur, innovation strategist, and internationally renowned leader.


Mindsets for change

Another Summit-voice talking about the importance of inner space is Manar Al-Dina. Manar is the founder of Vibrant Thinking, a Jordan-based international company for leadership development.  An important mantra for Vibrant Thinking is: “You are what you think. What you think becomes what you feel. What you feel, turns into your actions”.

“You are what you think. What you think becomes what you feel. What you feel, turns into your actions”.

The idea behind the mantra is that everything is possible if we set out minds to it. When addressing the Global Summit, Manar emphasizes that the most important tools for reaching the development goals are our mindsets. An important aspect of our mindsets is what Manar calls ‘response-ability’. This concept has to do with the possibility and ability of human beings to choose how we respond to the world. There are a lot of issues and circumstances beyond our control. The only thing we can do is take responsibility for the way we react to them. Manar believes that this ‘responsible mindset’ is an indispensable asset for individuals wishing to have any kind of positive impact on their own lives and their environments. She is saying that we can be the change we want to see in the world.

She is saying that we can be the change we want to see in the world.


Being the change

So – how, exactly, can we be the change? The Global Summit addresses the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN ‘blueprint for achieving a happier and healthier world by 2030’. The goals can sometimes seem unattainable, even for the broad scope of an international conference like the Summit: Eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring good health, education, water and sanitation for all, providing gender equality – these are only a few of the changes international society has committed to making. These changes are impossible for one person to achieve alone. Nevertheless, if we as individuals don’t take action for change, then who will do it? And, after all, every little step helps.


This is the idea behind the UN’s Be the Change Initiative. The initiative encourages people to live more sustainable lives and take responsibility for positive change. Everyone is welcome to participate and to do as much or as little as they can to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

There are several toolkits available from the UN to help make it easier for individuals to take action and make an impact. One of them is 170 actions to transform the world. This is a roadmap of relatively simple actions that can be carried out on an everyday basis to help promote the Sustainable Development Goals. The 170 actions are available in several languages, including English and Arabic.

Another tool to make an impact is The lazy person’s guide to changing the world:



  • Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
  • Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile. No paper, no need for forest destruction.
  • Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.

For more ways to make positive change from your couch – or maybe even on a higher level? – see the UN’s website for taking action.

Can you make one of these actions part of your everyday life? Maybe you are already doing some of them?



Can you make one of these actions part of your everyday life?


By Johanne Kalsaas

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