Akrasia and Immunity to change

by terasinube1 min read3rd Mar 20145 comments

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Does any of you has any relevant experience that you can share with Immunity to change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey?

I'm currently reading their book and I find it fascinating.

Here is a HBR article titled The Real Reason People Won’t Change that describes the work. 
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Summary: people who have an unacknowledged competing commitment end up sabotaging themselves. The proposed solution is to explicate this hidden reason for inaction and hopefully replace it with a more productive one.

My opinion: it is probably a good approach when the diagnosis is correct, however, the proposed reason for akrasia is likely just one of many possibilities, yet the article makes is sound like it's almost always the one.

Could you provide a summary of the idea?

Robert Kegan's wikipedia entry has a pretty good summary of the idea.

This 15 min. youtube video is also a nice introduction.

In short, the real reason people don't do the things they consciously want to do might be related to a sort of immune system that tries to keep things as they are because there are competing commitments that steam from unconscious assumptions. e.g. a person might not take their heart medication because taking medication is associated with end of life and they have a competing commitment to not perceive themselves as being at the end of their life.

it is not just an idea - in his book "Right Weight Right Mind" he takes you through a whole powerful process.

For practical use the best exposition is his book "Right Weight Right Mind". Ostensibly this is about weight loss but it applies to almost any change process. A single data point is that it seems to have solved my weight control problem when nothing else has worked so well over a 25 year struggle. What impresses me is the ease with which I am losing weight whereas before it was a gritted teeth tough struggle.

I am not applying it to other things such as akrasia - specifically getting in 4 hours of really hard work each and every day (which I think is the human limit).

Summary here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_hpownP1A4PS0JkMzZjelQzUzA/view?usp=sharing

Of course it is not an answer to every problem but often when change proves impossible there are other competing commitments and Kegan's process is a really good way to uncover and deal with these.

This comes out of his work on personal growth and development which I think is also something special. Summary here and some links

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_hpownP1A4PdERFVXJDVE5SRnc/view?usp=sharing .