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The mental model: High agency

/ 2 min read

When they tell you that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation, or is that where a second dialogue begins in your mind, how to show whoever told you that you can’t do something?

This was the question posed by physical mathematician Eric Weinstein, trying to describe the concept of high agency.

High agency is about being unstoppable and creating your own reality. It is the ability to get things done, regardless of the circumstances. These unusual personality types are considered irreverent and committed.

This is the definition of a High agency person. At times in life we all end up on the brink of failure sometimes. But there is always a way. Even when there seems to be no way out.

We see these high agency vs low agency behaviors everywhere.

High agency are recognized, as they are:

  • Capable of creating own reality
  • They know they have control over their history
  • They either find the way or else create their own
  • They believe they can shape the world
  • They believe more in their own agency (what is in their control), and do not care about conventional thinking or the opinions of other people
  • They are dreamers with ambitious and bold imaginations about the future.
  • They take initiative and move on
  • They take responsibility. They stand up and own the plan and the result
  • They tend not to follow the rules, the realities, that apply to others (as a behavioral trait, which can be seen as antisocial, or if it happens to change the world, it can earn them the label of “visionary”)
  • They prefer to ask for forgiveness, than permission
  • They ask a lot of questions
  • They believe that if they have a vision and work ethic, much of life was malleable
  • They are willing to endure rejection, shame, uncertainty, fear, or failure

Also Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, use this question to identify high agency:

If you was stuck in a third world prison and had to call one person to try and bust you out of there - who would you call?

High Agency is possibly the most valuable personality trait you can cultivate.

High Agency is not innate. It is learned, practiced and developed with habits, iteration by iteration. And each share will be a vote for the type of person you want to become.

When in doubt, ask yourself, what would high agency person do?

  • Question everything (your life and reality)
  • Think how to bend reality and do it
  • Never delegate your decision-making and thinking