What personality development has to do with sustainability

There are many blogs about personality development. And there are many bloggers who have focused on sustainability topics. First, I started to integrate both themes into my life independently, but quickly it became impossible for me to separate them. The more deeply I looked at my own life, I realised that both topics belong together. With this article, I’d like to tell you why this is the case, because I believe that this not only applies to me, but to all of us.

Both topics have rapidly gained in importance during last few years. In my opinion, that’s also no coincidence. Why?

At this point, it’s not about the reasons why both topics are becoming more relevant, but that just these two topics are becoming more present and important.

Personality development is our own dynamic signpost for a personally fulfilled life. I would say that one major reason for the increasing attention to personality development is stress. How do I come up with that idea?

Our everyday life is hectic. There is an abundance of everything. We have endless possibilities. And rising. All these increased requirements lead to pressure to perform and excessive demand. Mindfulness, self-determination and freedom, for example, have developed as counter-trends to stress, because they are blocked by this constant overload. All of them are major topics of personality development.

It’s similar with sustainability. Stress can be seen as a reason here, too. Stress for our nature, for example, caused by an environment that is characterised by mass production and consumption. Counter-trends such as minimalism, zero waste, sustainable fashion, and many more have developed, which can be localised in the area of ​​sustainability.

But how do these two topics come together?

Our ways of living and working today have suppressed our personal needs and the needs of our world for so long, that we begin to feel the consequences of the tension between economy, society, ecology and our own well-being. Thus, both today’s desire for personality development and the need for more sustainability have emerged from this imbalance. An imbalance triggered by our „more, faster, further“ driven behaviour.

The problems that our lifestyles cause have mostly been tried to solve separately. However, if we consider the stress which ourselves and our world are exposed to as the one cause of our current situation, the question is whether there is one solution. In my opinion, this could be the case. We humans have created the stress ourselves. So we are the only ones who can dissolve it. By eliminating the cause, not the symptoms. With a healthy, sustainable lifestyle that works for everyone in the long term. A lifestyle that is not imposed, but self-developed.

By now, many of today’s trends have evolved into a kind of attitude and belief based on both personal and environmental motives.

Mindfulness as an approach to consciously point the attention on oneself not only leads to being more attentive with oneself, but also with the environment. In other words, it promotes sustainability.

Minimalism as a way to focus on the essentials not only counteracts mass consumption, but also helps us to recognise what is really important to us. When we know that, we change our perception of the world and become sensitive to the effects of our behaviour on our fellow people and nature.

Another example is veganism. Personal as well as environmental reasons can play a role in the decision to live vegan.

The slow movement also refers to both, sustainability and personality development. Not only does our fast-paced world lead to a lot of hassle and little permanence, it also disturbs the balance between the usage of human and natural resources and the consumption of goods. Economic development has reached levels that exceed human and natural limits. That’s how the slow concept of reasonable speeds and more sustainable alternatives which are acceptable for our own lives and our world has developed.

The common denominator of all these topics is consciousness.

Many of the things we do are done un- or subconsciously. But as we develop our personality, we take a deep look at ourselves and our life. Sooner or later, we will also become more aware of the consequences of our actions for the environment. The merging of sustainability and personality development is about raising awareness for yourself and the world. A conscious lifestyle is the first step towards a life that’s worthwhile.

Especially with regard to sustainability, responsibility is another interesting point. When we are dissatisfied with a situation, we often seek to place the blame for our situation elsewhere. We often point to others instead of honestly questioning our own behaviour. We should start with ourselves first, if we want to change something. This means taking responsibility for our lives and asking ourselves how our own behaviour has contributed to the situation we are in. No matter what the topic is, it’s about taking matters into our hands rather than handing over the responsibility. Responsible behaviour starts with everyone – this applies equally to personal, social, economic or ecological topics.

In my view, the third major similarity of personality development and sustainability is compassion. When we look at personality development, we become not only aware of the effect that other things have on us, but also how our behaviour affects other things. In terms of sustainability, for example, this could mean the effect of our diet on the environment. If we value ourselves, we will also develop appreciation and compassion for our fellow human beings, the animals, the plants, and especially our Mother Earth.

Why personality development is the key to sustainability

If you look at the term personality development, one might assume that it is limited to one’s own development. However, I believe that – the deeper you delve into the process – it’s about a long-term development of a personality that lives in harmony with its systems. That includes family, teams, society or even the whole world. The social personality development, so to speak.

In addition to a political topic, sustainability is also one that concerns ourselves and our own personality. We can contribute to a sustainable development by looking at our own behaviour, by questioning our thoughts, feelings and actions, and by considering whether it makes sense to still do the things the way we do them. Personality development allows us to rethink. Any moment we have the choice to change our mind. But what do we need to make a decision and find the strength to really make a difference?

We need clarity on where we stand, what we want to do, what defines us, what we stand for, what is important to us and who we are. And we need a clear idea of ​​where we want to go and what for. If we take the time to stop, pause, and reflect, we can answer those things. And then we get the power we need to approach the change. And that’s exactly what our world needs.

Conscious, responsible and appreciative behaviour is the beginning of a better world. If we know what is important to us, we will also consistently strive to preserve and improve our livelihoods.

Wouldn’t sustainable development be easy then? Yes and no. Through our lifestyle, we have often moved so far away from ourselves that we feel helpless in the situation we are in and perhaps even don’t know or feel our own needs anymore. We have no idea where to start and we don’t have the courage or time to change anything. However, we need breaks most when we think we can afford them the least. Because without breaks, we just keep going.

How can we drive personality development forward?

If we ignore our needs for a long time, they eventually become louder and louder, so that we realise that it is about time to change something. Often, however, we only notice this when we have began to feel the consequences. Instead of waiting for so long, wouldn’t it be better to prevent them?

Everyone is currently at a different point in his life – in terms of his own personality, but also regarding sustainability. It doesn’t matter where you begin and whether personality development leads you to sustainability or if you can find back to yourself through sustainability.

There are numerous free offers on personality development and Self-Coaching. But there is a chance to feel overwhelmed, too.

In that case, a Personal Coaching can be worthwhile to have a look at one’s individual situation. Additionally, Coaching can help to reveal new perspectives that one would already have rejected in a Self-Coaching. Coaching can help step by step to listen to one’s inner voice and be mindful with oneself rather than pleasing others. It helps to not avoid obstacles, but to overcome them.

Coaching can also encourage to stand up for your own beliefs and to have the courage to do things the way you think is right. Or to hold against outdated values and social norms in discussions or conflicts and to decide that you want to do it differently for yourself. Not everything that has been passed on to us is always right. 

Coaching can also be useful in terms of sustainability. Thinking about integrating more sustainably in everyday life can seem overextending. In addition, one could think that he or she alone can’t do anything when it comes to the big problems of our world. However, it’s about thinking globally, but acting locally.

The most important thing is to start.

I believe in Coaching can open us the doors to a livable future. How exactly that can look like, I’ll share with you in my next article.


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