Why is it so hard to make important changes in our lives — even the ones we genuinely want?
For instance, why do so many of us find it impossible to make positive lifestyle changes even though our health is at stake?
Robert Kegan, whom I first “met” through his brilliant book The Evolving Self, has an explanation for this puzzling problem. He describes it in this engaging video about his book called Immunity to Change.
The video’s a little long by modern standards at 14 minutes, but it’s worth listening to Kegan describe a tool that could change your life. Plus, he’s an entertaining speaker.
If you’ve got changes you want to make in your life, I highly recommend investing the time to watch this video. But if you don’t have time to watch right now you can scroll down and read a little bit about what it’s about.
Essentially Kegan asks us to examine the hidden downsides of making positive changes in our lives.
We may not always know why we don’t do the things we say we want to do. Becoming aware of the reason(s) can mean the difference between success and stagnation. And in some cases, even life and death!
I used the tool in the video to look at why I still haven’t tackled the pile of clutter beside my desk that’s been there for at least a year now, and why I haven’t made a lick of progress on pruning my files.
I had a sudden insight through doing this exercise: Neatness makes me anxious.
All that tidy, sterile space … without the comforting dollop of clutter … Yeesh.
Even these photos of super-tidy spaces makes me nervous. There’s too much order. It’s stifling.
It will take some more digging to get to the bottom of this.
In the meantime, take my word for it: Kegan’s thinking-about-change tool is worth a look.
What are you ready to change in your life?