Conscious capitalism meets Olympic Values

Educational curricula embed curiosity, boldness, and reflection as catalysts for respect, excellence, and friendship

Harris Kalofonos
5 min readOct 28, 2023
Photo by Shapelined on Unsplash

In the convergence of education and investment, attributes akin to those developed by Olympic athletes take center stage. Curiosity, boldness, and reflection now resonate as catalysts for personal growth, mirroring the Olympic values of respect, excellence, and friendship. A striking statistic further affirms this synergy: around 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs share a commitment to fitness and wellness, emphasizing the significance of life skills in personal and professional success. This shift is mirrored in education, where life skills intertwine with intellectual prowess. From K-12 to MBA programs, there’s a growing recognition that these attributes are not mere complements but essential components.

This paradigm underscores that education transcends classrooms, nurturing resilience, perseverance, and adaptability alongside intellectual acumen. Attributes cultivated in athletic training now find a place in broader education, echoing the values of respect, excellence, and friendship. As this trend gathers pace, the promise of curiosity, boldness, and reflection becomes increasingly evident. These attributes not only steer athletes in their pursuit of excellence but also propel students and professionals to extraordinary achievements.

In the synergy of education and investment, they serve as key performance indicators (KPIs) for return on investment (ROI), illuminating the lasting significance of comprehensive development and the timeless values embodied by the Olympics.

A decade ago, the idea that investors could simultaneously generate market-rate returns and produce measurable positive societal benefits seemed far-fetched. Today, this aspiration is not only realistic but is increasingly becoming the driving force behind the paradigm shift in investment strategies. The rise of sustainable investing and the adoption of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles have played a pivotal role in reshaping the way we perceive financial investments.

The numbers speak for themselves — more than $17 trillion, or an astounding one out of every three dollars professionally invested in the United States, is now committed to some form of sustainable investing as part of an investment strategy. 1,2

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This surge in conscious capitalism is driven by a collective desire to align financial capital with deeply held values, where profit is not the sole goal but rather one facet of a multifaceted commitment to positive change.

Amid this sweeping wave of transformation, impact investing has emerged as a niche sector within sustainable investing, boasting an estimated $715 billion under management globally.

As articulated by Nick Kind and Andrea Mainelli from Tyton Partners, impact investors exhibit a unique resolve, defying conventional financial wisdom that often shies away from high-risk, low-return ventures. Their unwavering commitment revolves around the concept of the “triple bottom line,” where the pursuit of positive social and environmental outcomes is intertwined with the financial return. Within the vast landscape of impact investing, a multitude of sub-categories has flourished. These encompass sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, innovative healthcare, and affordable housing, among others. Yet, one niche sector has garnered substantial attention and is poised for a transformative shift in education.

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Education, a sector marked by its unique ability to shape the future and mold generations, is increasingly recognized as a compelling opportunity to drive meaningful impact. The world of education is, in many ways, the fertile ground for sowing the seeds of curiosity, boldness, and reflection. These attributes, which play a pivotal role in nurturing Olympic values, are intricately woven into the fabric of educational endeavors.

Curiosity, a hallmark of effective learning, propels students to explore the unknown, question the status quo, and seek knowledge beyond the boundaries of textbooks. In the context of the Olympics, curiosity drives athletes to push their limits, discover new techniques, and better understand their bodies and minds. Similarly, in the world of impact investing and education, curiosity leads to innovative solutions, groundbreaking research, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge that can transform societies. In a world marred by political controversies, vaccine debates, religious tensions, environmental challenges, and struggles for gender rights, our societies have become divided, people feel isolated, and polarization reigns. We see fractures in our friendships, conflicts in our work teams, and divisions within our families, making healing seem unattainable.

Renowned curiosity expert, Scott Shigeoka, internationally recognized for his work, understands that the profound practice of Deep Curiosity offers us a unique avenue for connection and transformation. With a strong foundation in the desire to comprehend the depths of ourselves and others, Deep Curiosity can be the key in various curricula to offer the perspective, drive and tools to the leaders of tomorrow to bridging the gaps that separate us. Backed by extensive research and conveyed with profound vulnerability, Shigeoka introduces you to his transformative DIVE model, which has the potential to change your life:

  • Detach: Begin by letting go of your ABCs — assumptions, biases, and certainty.
  • Intend: Prepare your mindset and set the stage for exploration.
  • Value: Recognize the inherent dignity in every person, including yourself.
  • Embrace: Welcome the challenging times in your life with open arms.

In a world full of division and strife, it’s curiosity intertwined with Olympic values-based curricula that can serve as a bridge to deeper understanding, connection, and personal growth.

Boldness, an attribute of Olympians who dare to dream and challenge records, finds its parallel in impact investing and educational pursuits. It’s the audacity to tackle complex issues head-on, even when the risks seem high and the returns uncertain. Just as athletes aim for excellence, investors and educators aspire to create transformative, bold solutions that address the pressing challenges of our time.

Reflection, another Olympic quality that fosters self-improvement and learning from experiences, is the linchpin connecting these values. It encourages investors, educators, and athletes to assess their actions, learn from their successes and failures, and adapt their strategies for future endeavors. In both the world of finance and education, reflection is the key to continuous improvement and the quest for excellence.

The convergence of curiosity, boldness, and reflection with the Olympic values of respect, excellence, and friendship is a testament to the potential for positive transformation.

In education, they empower learners to grow and adapt, foster respect for different perspectives, strive for excellence, and build lasting friendships. In the realm of impact investing, these attributes enable investors to support initiatives that drive positive change, pursue excellence in both financial and societal outcomes, and build relationships that transcend transactions. The Olympic spirit and the values it represents find new resonance in a world where educational curricula embed curiosity, boldness, and reflection as catalysts for respect, excellence, and friendship, forging a path toward a brighter future for all.

  1. USSIF data as of 12/31/2020
  2. 2.Global Impact Investing Network data, as of 12/31/2020

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Harris Kalofonos

Managing Director — Goodvoice Group | Connecting the dots of past & present experiences | Founder, YCA