Category Archives: Cognitive Development and the Evolving Self

Book | In Over Our Heads by Robert Kegan

keganIn over our headsKegan, Robert. In over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

The Author – Robert Kegan

Kegan is a professor of Adult Learning at Harvard, specializing in cognitive developmental psychology. He has dedicated his career to studying what he has come to call “the evolving self.” Prior to his quest, which began in the 1980s, the conventional wisdom regarding human cognitive development was that all significant cognitive development ceased in late adolescence. In other words, a person’s ability to change the way they think stops at the onset of adulthood. The only type of change that an adult can expect is technical change. Adults can learn more, but they can’t change the way they learn or perceive the world. Kegan’s research has demonstrated that this is not true. He studied hundreds of people over a number of years and discovered that adults can and do develop—evolve—cognitively beyond adolescence. read more

Searching for a way out of hell: mental complexity, wellbeing, and Bob’s Big Idea : RSA blogs

A new Twitter connection sent me a link the other day to this presentation by Robert Kegan:

Searching for a way out of hell: mental complexity, wellbeing, and Bob’s Big Idea : RSA blogs.

Be sure to check out the podcast attached to this blogpost. Here Kegan discusses the fifth order of consciousness further than he has before.

I think Kegan’s concepts here are connected to social Trinitarian theology, relational ontology, the importance of listening in theology, and are key to constructing a missional theology.
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Book | Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

9781422129470_p0_v2_s260x420Kegan, Robert, and Lisa Laskow Lahey. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock Potential in Yourself and Your Organization Leadership for the Common Good. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2009.

The Authors

Robert Kegan

keganProfessor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard. Founding Principal of Minds at Work.

Lisa Laskow Lahey

LaheyA faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of education and Founding Principal at Minds at Work.


“If you are leading anything at any level, you are driving some kind of plan or agenda, but some kind of plan or agenda is also driving you. It is out of your awareness. You cannot yet take responsibility for it. And most of the time, that agenda will limit or even doom your ability to deliver extraordinary results. If you do not attend as much to “development” as to “leadership,” then your leadership development will always be directed to the plan or agenda you have. It will not be about the plan or agenda that “has you,” and heretofore your capacity for change will inherently be limited.”⁠1 read more