Pen, paper, computer/mac.



Intention The intention of this task is to increase our ability to determine what our lives are like and what impact we want to have, by challenging our internal limitations and our current perception of what we see as possible for ourselves. We start by becoming more aware of our current perception of what is possible for us, both in our own lives and in the ways we would like to influence the world around us. We then ask to what extent this perception is a result of our environment, or our own active choice. We challenge each other's perception of what we can achieve, so we can ultimately live more fulfilling lives, and make use of the possibilities for positive impact that actually exist around us.

Introduction Agency is about our capacity to make a difference, the capacity to act independently, to make our own free choices, and to make change in the structures and systems we live in. Here, we approach our agency at the level of our selves, through introspection, looking at how it is shaped by internal limitations and what we perceive is possible. We all have certain ideas about what is possible for us. Our perception of what is possible is dependent on many factors, both internal and external - our thought patterns, skills, previous experience, education, culture, institutional rules, specific knowledge, sense of safety, mental surplus, whether our basic needs are fulfilled, etc. Because of all these contributing factors, there are certain opportunities we see, and others that are completely outside of our awareness.

Increasing our agency is then about increasing our capacity to change things beyond the factors that shape what we currently see as possible. It is about increasing our capacity to define and impact own and others' lives, no matter our background, current limitations, power, what we believe we deserve, etc. Most probably, you are able to achieve better health, a greater change in mindset, behaviour and skill, a greater impact on the culture and systems around you - than you currently realize. This is a difficult task - it requires breaking out of current patterns, and creating new ones. Our opportunities in life will increase when we make this effort. Example 1: Two nurses working at the same hospital are frustrated about and discussing all the plastic they are using that does not get recycled. First one of them, with tired eyes after a 12-hour shift, ends the conversation by saying "there is nothing we can do anyway". The second one recalls that their new head of department feels strongly about sustainability, decides to reach out to them with a short video addressing the issue, and some months later they start an initiative that ends up changing the recycling system for all the hospitals in the region. In this example, the first person's perceived agency in this situation is more narrow than that of the second. They wouldn't even think about setting out to influence the issue at this scale. The second nurse sees that it is possible for them to influence the culture and systems around them. Example 2: We can use the same logic in our ability to influence ourselves. For example, among two beginner runners, one decides to run a marathon, and another never runs more than 5K while saying "I'm just not the long-distance type". It is not that the first one is in better shape - she believes it is possible to develop her mindset and behaviours in order to reach the goal. Of course, limitations do exist. We are not limitless. Our freedom and possibility to make a difference are limited by laws, physics, the pace of cultural and system change, etc. Still, for a number of reasons many actual possibilities are outside our current awareness, and here we make space for some creative thinking about our own lives - what would be possible if we let go or moved beyond some of our current limitations? (As an extra example, read the story linked below)



(15min) Choose 2-3 areas in your life (you can use the list below or think of others), and describe: What do you currently perceive as possible in this area for yourself? Is this perception a result of your environment, or have you made an active choice? What effect does your current perception have on your life? Health and well-being Confidence Skills (any specific relevant for you?) Capacity to learn Ability to deal with failure Personal relations Family life Lifestyle and home Professional relations Financial situation Level of influence at work/in your community/in the world Political influence Professional success The culture around you


(15min) Solo reflection: Choose one area that is most relevant/impactful for you to work with right now, and where you would like to practice increasing your personal agency. To narrow it down more, choose a specific example/case from your life in this area. (Ex: Level of influence at work - a specific project idea you have had for a while; Family life - creating a home where the whole family gathers, etc.) What can I achieve in this area, if I move beyond some internal limitations, and take more active choices? What can I do to make that happen?


(30min) In groups of three: One person is in focus at a time. Share your reflections, then take time to challenge the person in focus.


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