Shifting Behavior To Accelerate Sustainable Development Solutions

By +SocialGood Connector Emmanuel Nyame

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘responsibility’? Is it something that sends shivers down your spine, or it’s welcoming? Let me share a few thoughts with you. It is sometimes disheartening and sad whenever people blindly believe certain ideologies which you personally find not to be true. It sends down many signals and the most occurring question seems to be: ‘how come?’

One of such ideologies, which applies to the world and has contributed in shaping the way we live, is taking responsibility for one’s actions and decisions in life. Many people have this idea that whatever happens to them is by chance or that the universe planned it to occur. Others go to the extent of blaming others for every ‘bad’ thing that occurs to them. But the bottom line is that whatever happens to us, good or bad, was as a result of the decisions we took in the past.

For example, if someone is not excelling in exams, to the larger extent, it is not the teacher’s laziness that caused your failure, neither is it the poor quality of study material that the lecturer gave out, but the onus is on you the individual who didn’t excel in the exams. If that individual had decided to put aside some amount of time everyday on his books, he would have been successful. In many typical situations, many people blame their inability to achieve on certain things relating to the economy and finances, etc. to external factors that do not relate to the core business of such people. It is often heard that the a management team or member has created disorder in prices, low turnover, and a number of other conditions are unnecessarily attributed to the others.

The Shifting Behavior panel at We The Future

During We The Future, a program initiated by the Skoll Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and TED to accelerate sustainable development solutions, panelists for the ‘Shifting Behavior’ session spoke extensively about the need to create innovative models that shift behavior. This panel was represented by Kate Lloyd Morgan, Producer, Shamba Chef, Orode Doherty, Country Director, Africare Nigeria, Rocky Dawuni, Grammy-Nominated Musician and Ambassador, GLobal Alliance for Cleanstoves, and Radha Muthiah, CEO, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

I found it profound that it was very necessary to consider our behavior as a people when tackling developmental issues. We are very accountable to our generation for the actions we take to solve developmental issues, hence the need to be responsible. Prior to this particular panel discussion, Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Laureate and Co-Founder, YSB Global Initiatives, also shared similar assertions on following your dreams and surviving as an entrepreneur, which were in line with taking responsibility for sustainable development.

In Ghana and some parts of the world, the problem of unemployment has taken center stage and while people are unemployed each year, most people keep attributing the menace to the effects of external factors. Instead of providing solutions to problems in their communities where they live and making some gains from that, they relax and expect things to happen within the twinkle of an eye.

Most graduates in Ghana and the world over, graduate with a sense of entitlement and not the responsibility and urge to develop businesses with the skills acquired from university. This ideology of taking responsibility of every action in life has shaped the way I live in so many ways, some of which include not giving up whenever I face opposition. I would rather spend the whole day improving upon my skills and competences than just giving up to nothing. Another effect also is that, whatever I put my hands on to do, I do it with all my might and try to do it very well leaving little or no space for errors.

Panelists at We The Future describe the importance of moon shot thinking

One thing worth noting is that, entrepreneurship, in itself, is rewarding, if and only if you commit yourself to serving society. No matter how lonely the road may seem, I believe that there are a thousand and more problems that people face on a daily basis and need quick solutions to. Therefore, instead of dreaming of a good and decent job after school, it is always necessary to find these problems and provide solutions to them. Others may argue that they may require a certain skills set in order to start their own businesses, but its actually the reverse case. You only have to be efficient and effective at whatever you plan to do as well as have some substantial amount of knowledge in the market or area of operation, as this would succeed in eliminating many errors and mistakes in the business.

I believe that wasted time cannot be regained, hence I try to do much with as little time as possible. This ideology has also led me to believe that there is no need to allow anyone to look down on my capabilities. I have realized that doing so does not make me dependent on them but rather makes me believe in the inner confidence, zeal, and boldness within me which contributes to the total achievement of my set targets. Ultimately, I take responsibility for my actions whether good or bad, and that has made all the difference. Make that choice today, and stay responsible. Nothing is impossible, ultimately! Thanks to the ‘Shifting Behaviour’ panel for reinforcing this!

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