What kinds of personal transformation help to drive whole system transformation? That was just one of the questions explored at a fascinating event hosted by Perspectiva earlier this week – if you don’t know them they’re really worth checking out, especially their great project on Beyond Activism.
It’s a really good question, relevant not only to politics, but also to what we need our education systems to do at a point when we’re less clear than ever on what kind of skills our kids will need in a massively uncertain future.
So here’s a first go at thinking through ten areas where progress in personal transformation would contribute directly to wider systemic transformation – and which (if we were smart) our societies would actively invest in training us on, throughout our lives:
- State management.Can we manage our mental and emotional states, and ‘untrigger’ when necessary
- Perceiving.Are we mindful of our biases and framing assumptions? Are we able to think critically
- Identity.How much do we see ourselves as individuals and how much do we identify with a larger collective? How big is the ‘us’ that we think we’re part of?
- Purpose.Do we have a clear sense of what we’re actually trying to do in – both individually and collectively?
- Ethics.Irrespective of whether or not we’re religious, do we have a clear ethical code, covering not just individual behaviour, but also taking responsibility for our share of collective behaviour (e.g. on social media)?
- Openness.Are we able to be honest about our feelings and experiences? Can we tell our story fearlessly?
- Empathy.Are we able to listen deeply to what others tell us back? Are we able to hold our views lightly, and be prepared to have them challenged and changed?
- Collaboration.Are we able to work with others, and how much are we able to do it through self-organisation rather than relying on top-down hierarchies?
- Creativity.How much are we able to create and think laterally? Are we able to do it with others?
- The numinous. Are we able to connect with and draw on a deeper source of inspiration – whether through silence, nature, meditation, prayer, or awe?