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What Is Self-Agency (Psychology) And Why Is It Important?

Man with light bulb head
Controlling your sexual energy through sexual transmutation will give you more willpower to realize your goals.

Accept that you are the agent of your thoughts, actions and their consequences.

The pace of life has accelerated to a level where most of us can’t fully cope. Incessant worrying that we’re not living up to our potential, and the feeling of anxiety this creates makes it difficult to get things done, resulting in a spiral of inaction.

What we need is more self-agency to feel in command of our lives.

In this article, we look at the intriguing phenomena of ‘sense of agency’ and why it is one of the most important traits you can develop as a man or woman to achieve a successful and fulfilling life.

Self-Agency Definition

Start Road To Success - Self-Agency

Having high agency makes you take action towards the things you want in life, making you happier.

Self-agency, also known as “personal agency” in psychology, is a term that describes the feeling of being in control of our actions and the consequences they have on our lives. It is the power and ability to filter out unwanted noise, find emotional and physical balance, think more clearly, and advocate for yourself.

Self-agency is power, seeing as success in life is virtually impossible without it. Being an agent of your life means knowing where you are and what’s happening to you, as well as having the ability to model circumstances.

When you hear a politician or some powerful businessman being able to do whatever he or she pleases, the personal being described is bound to have a good sense of agency.

Types of Personal Agency

Self-Agency is not good or bad

Having a high sense of agency doesn’t make you good or bad. It’s all about how much control your feel you have over your internal and external world.

Having agency doesn’t imply that someone is good or bad — like energy, it is simply a measure of the degree of control someone has over his internal and external world.

As the name implies (sense of agency), agency is a subjective measure. Unlike energy, there is no scientific way to quantify “agency”.

There have been studies on the subject, but never to the exactness required by the tried-and-tested scientific method.

Even though agency cannot be objectively measured, it is a force of nature that exists. Your success in life depends on how much self agency you have.

Most people are low-agency, while a small but sizable number of individuals are medium-agency. High agency individuals are rare at less than 1% of the world’s population. But despite their small numbers, they hold a disproportionate amount of power.

No one, apart from yourself, will be able to tell whether you have “enough” agency or not, and this will depend on what you want to accomplish in your life.

How Much Agency do you Have?

Lazy Guy With Low Self Agency

Laziness and inactivity are signs of low personal agency. Fortunately, you can always improve your sense of agency.

A key to assessing your personal power is knowing that you can always have more agency. If you feel like you want to get more out of life, what you are actually asking for is to have more agency.

A person with a lot of agency who has worked on his mind is generally a highly-conscious being. Have you ever talked to someone and felt like you were talking to a pole? As if he or she wasn’t present? This person is not a highly-conscious being.

In fact, it seems most people I interact and communicate with on a daily basis are not fully aware of their existence, explaining the preponderance of shallow conversations that center around what they’ve seen on TV or social media.

Discussing deep, intellectually-stimulating topics with low agency individuals is an exercise in frustration. Either they stare blankly or laugh at you.

I would dare say that most people who are into personal development, which includes members of the Too Manly community, have above-average levels of self-agency.

You Are Not A Low-Agency Individual

Man with light bulb head

If your life feels like its in a rut, you probably need to increase your agency. It’s time to make some life changes.

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and can’t seem to get things done? It probably frustrates and even angers you to see so many of your peers achieve great success in life with seemingly little effort. Well, it’s time you got unstuck!

The fact that you stumbled upon the Too Manly community likely means you are not a low-agency individual. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you chose to seek out ways to become better.

Like many of the guys who have chosen to practice the TooManly lifestyle, you are motivated to change things up. All you need now is the right information about how to do so.

Of course, there are communities with higher concentrations of very high-agency people, and these people usually have a lot of money and power. Although that’s a luxury most people don’t have, it is a luxury that is certainly attainable.

Don’t beat yourself up for not being where you want to be in life. Your problem is probably not a lack of agency. Rather, your problem is likely a lack of concentration due to computer, digital, electronic, porn and other artificial-based stimulation addiction.

Raise your self-agency by continuing to work on yourself with our free personal development resources, and have confidence that greater things lay ahead.

Use Your Personal Agency For Good, Not Evil

See no evil, speak, no evil hear no evil

A high sense of agency is a source of great power, so use it for good and not evil.

As mentioned earlier, self-agency is power, and power can corrupt. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stanlin — two of the most evil people in history — certainly had very high agency, but we can agree that they used the power it gave them to cause unimaginable pain and suffering.

On the other hand, high agency individuals like Bill Gates, Albert Einsiten, Nelson Mandela, and William Shakespeare used the power granted to them to change the world for the better.

Remember, having agency doesn’t inherently make you good or bad. It’s how you use your agency that determines where on the good-evil spectrum you fall.

“While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” – Marcus Aurelius.

Self Agency Questions and Answers

Self-Agency and the brain

Your success in your relationships, career, and all future endeavors depends on having a high sense of agency.

Having a good sense of agency is one of the most important traits you can develop as a person. Your success in your relationships, your career, and all future endeavours depends on it.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions regarding self agency.

What Is ‘Sense of Agency’?

A sense of agency is a subjective measure that determines the degree to which you feel you have control over your mind, body, and environment. In many ways, it is your ability to take action and be effective, assume responsibility for your behavior, and influence your own life.

According to psychologists, having a strong sense of agency is one of the most important traits to being happy. No matter how much material goods a person owns, you won’t be happy if you don’t have control over your actions and environment. A billionaire in prison is proof of this point.

Knowing this, achieving a high sense of agency is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and those you care about. Strive for it.

Is There A Scale For Sense of Agency?

Yes, there is a scale for the sense of agency. A person can have a low sense of agency and a high sense of agency, or somewhere in between.

Having a low sense of agency entails not having sufficient control over yourself and your environment, which can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. On the other hand, it’s good to have a high sense of agency, as it means being satisfied with the amount of control you have over your life.

How Do I Assess My Self-Agency

Unfortunately, there is no way to objectively measure your self-agency. Self-agency is best described as the feeling you have regarding the amount of control you have over yourself, your actions and your life.

Only you are in the best position to determine if you have low or high agency. If you believe that you have low self agency, put in the work to improve this aspect of your life with the knowledge that the higher your sense of agency, the happier you will be.

Is There A Connection Between Self Control and Agency?

Yes, there is a direct correlation between self control and agency. Generally speaking, people with higher personal agency exhibit more self-control.

ability to defer gratification

Considering that self-control is the amount of power you have over your impulses and is the ability to defer gratification, it reasons that self-control is an important factor of self agency.

Are Personal Power And Agency The Same?

Personal power is the ability to influence others. It resides in the person instead of being vested by the position he or she holds.

Like self control, personal power can be considered one part of self agency. Having the inherent power to influence people gives you more control over your own life.

Are Self-Efficacy And Agency The Same Thing?

Self-Efficacy is defined as a person’s beliefs about being able to effectively perform a particular task or situation (perceived ability), while agency is the capacity to coordinate learning skills, motivation and emotions to reach desired goals (actual ability).

Those definitions make it clear that self-efficacy is a foundation for agency. That is, how well you think you can do something will influence your ability and decision to do it.

But self-efficacy and agency are not the same. Just because you believe that you are good at, say, Math doesn’t mean you necessarily have high self esteem and, by extension, high agency. It just means you think you are able to do math.

Is Sense of Urgency The Same As Self-Agency?

Sense of urgency and personal agency are connected. Sense of urgency refers to an internally-derived sense of direction, motivation and compulsion to move or act in some way.

A strong sense of urgency is important because failure to act promptly or decisively means that opportunities may be lost, which can negatively affect your success in life.

Your ability to exercise control over your own functioning and over environmental events (self agency) is strongly dependent on your ability to act quickly to make changes in your internal and external world.

Can Low Agency Cause Depression And Anxiety?

Yes, a lack of agency can make you depressed. When people believe they cannot control potential threats, they experience feelings of anxiety, futility and despondency. And not having the power to establish a strong sense of self-worth can give rise to self-devaluation and depression.

A low sense of social agency to develop social relationships that bring satisfaction to people’s lives can also cause depression by making it difficult to manage chronic stressors.

Finally, not being able to regulate negative thoughts due to low agency contributes to the occurrence of depressive episodes and how long they last.

Written By

Kwame Owusu is a personal development coach and the founder of Too Manly. He holds an MBA from a top business school and is committed to helping men all around the world look, feel and live the prime of their life.



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