Pen, paper, computer/mac.



Intention: If we assume that the human individual is an agent with a certain amount of freedom and autonomy, there is then leeway for this agent to influence the outcome of situations. There will then be opportunities to choose and prioritize. Even if that is true, it would be naive to think that this agent can do whatever he/she wants to, there are limitations to freedom, both structural and natural. This agent is always affected by the structural conditions of society and the natural limits of being a human. If we look back only a few years, freedom and the ability to control your own life was not something available for the average Joe, but rather a small elite. Today autonomy and freedom are available for the masses in most parts of the world and is often seen as the cornerstone of an empathic, altruistic and trust-based societies. The question we will explore here is the following; How much can you realistically influence when you know what you want? We will explore this question in two directions, the first one is aimed at what you as an agent can internally influence, your behavior, feelings, thoughts, and will. We will here reflect upon what kind of personal limitations and natural structures you see that limits or promotes leeway. An example here would be the natural limitations we have when we aim to change our habits. It might be too big of a strain on your system to change four habits at once. This, thereby, limits your leeway if your set goal is to influence your habitual patterns. Through the second direction, we shift our focus more towards external structures in your environment. Like norms, relationships, roles, requirements, responsibilities, law, power, and law. A few examples might clear this up a bit. If you want to do any behavior change, the environment in which you choose to make this change might influence the process. Your family can, for example, be either supportive or limiting. Another example might be job requirements, that you need a masters degree to apply for a specific job. This can be seen as something structural that demands more to just change, it might be outside of your reach to influence that. Structural limitations or aids is a very broad concept that contains in principle, anything external that can have a positive or negative effect on your ability to influence towards something.

Stephen Covey's model might be a useful thing to take a look at before this exercise. He thinks that many people spend way too much energy trying to control stuff they can't do anything about. As illustrated in this model:

Another useful tool might be to divide what you can control and what you can't. Where you have some leeway to control your what is in the mental and concrete sections but you might have rather little room to control or influence external factors.










-Inner dialogue











(5min) Through these past two days, we have been through several topics, and you might have found an area where you believe that you might benefit from working with, or improving. In this exercise, we try to map out the amount of leeway you have to influence this process/goal etc. Explore this question on your own; How much can you realistically influence when you know what you want? Here, what you want is decided by what you aim to focus on. Use the five minutes you have available here to decide what you would like to work on in this exercise. Bring in reflections from previous exercises and decide upon a topic/process or pattern that you would like to prioritize moving forward.


(30min) Reflect upon this topic/process or pattern in the two directions as described earlier. 1. What leeway do you have to influence internal processes, like thought, behavior, feelings, and will? In what way can you influence these to achieve your goals? Do you see any barriers or things that limit your level of influence, either natural or mental? 2. What kind of external structures influence your own leeway? Examples: Environment, relations, power, laws, etc.


(40min) Share your reflections with the rest of the group, one by one and with full focus on one person at the time. Make sure that you have enough time for questions.

Last updated