Blog post by Leslie Helmuth, Harvard Extension blog editor
We’re all a bit resistant to change. Eight days into January, and how many of us have already broken a New Year’s resolution? (I haven’t, but then this year I didn’t bother setting one.) It’s a cliché, yes: but change is hard.
Just maybe, though, the problem isn’t inertia or lack of willpower. According to Harvard Graduate School of Education professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, when we fail at a goal we’ve set for ourselves, it’s likely that a sort-of emotional immune system is covertly at work, defending us from perceived threats.
To arrive at lasting change, Kegan (who teachesAdult Development) and Lahey say you must dig deep to identify what may be in opposition to your goal. These hidden competing commitments are rooted in our individual worldviews—our big assumptions about how things operate. And change results from altering the way we think.
In their book Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, Kegan and Lahey lay out a process for overcoming obstacles. It’s a four-column immunity map that helps you understand what feelings are at play and how you are sabotaging your efforts.
The Science of Happiness
“A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life.” – Huffington Post
About this Course
We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in.
“The Science of Happiness” is the first MOOC to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.
What’s more, “The Science of Happiness” will offer students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So students will learn many different research-tested practices that foster social and emotional well-being—and the course will help them track their happiness along the way.
The course’s co-instructors, Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, are not only leading authorities on positive psychology but also gifted teachers skilled at making science feel fun and personal. They’ll be joined by world-renowned experts discussing themes like empathy, mindfulness, and gratitude—experts including Barbara Fredrickson, Paul Ekman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Health professionals who register can earn continuing education units for their participation.