The Rider, The Elephant, and The Path

This is a model presented by Dan and Chip Heath in their book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, which I have found to be tremendously useful. I think it must contain some universal truth because I’ve encountered other frameworks for thinking about life that map closely to this three-legged rational / emotional / environment structure.

The book opens with three surprises about change:

  1. What looks like resistance is often lack of clarity (The Rider)
  2. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion (i.e., Self-control is a finite resource; The Rider’s control over The Elephant)
  3. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem (The Path)

Read the book for their “clinical” studies and insights for how to guide The Rider, motivate The Elephant, and shape The Path.


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