Glossary: Agency

A key aspect of building Authenticity in your life is building your capacity for Action; to make a decision.  Action based on contemplation.  Actions which stem from an individual with a high level of social reflexivity having actively chosen your own social norms, tastes, politics, desires and so on.   Of course the professors have a word for the capacity for action:  Agency.

As with many things here at DGC, we try to keep Agency out of the good/bad have/have not bipolar paradigm.  Since Agency is a “capacity” it is more a “how full is the cup?” sort of thing.  For some decisions you have tons of Agency; “What color of underwear should I put on today?”.  For others, not so much; “Should I wear white at a funeral?”

If you don’t have Agency to make a decision, action is not possible.  So I am all about building Agency.  Building the capacity to make a decision. Many times this involves breaking through social norms or fears that prevent action.  Then encouraging those decisions to be made.  Start with simple decisions (action), build up capacity and make bigger ones.  That is how anyone at the top of their game got there.  You get to the big table by playing the small tables well.  More Agency is almost always a good thing.  But Agency doesn’t mean bucking the trend by making outrageous decisions all the time.  Agency is the CAPACITY to make a decision not a directive to be an outlier all the time.  So is being aware enough to realize a bad decision (action) (see above white at a funeral) is also a display of strong AGENCY.

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