Many people today are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by life. The typical approach to treating these issues is to learn how to manage one’s symptoms through things like mindfulness or meditation. My guest today argues that mere management is insufficient. Instead, we need to tackle the root of what’s causing us to feel anxious, stuck, and generally lost — a decreasing sense of agency. 

His name is Dr. Paul Napper and he’s a psychologist and the co-author of the book The Power of Agency: The 7 Principles to Conquer Obstacles, Make Effective Decisions, and Create a Life on Your Own Terms. Today on the show, Paul makes the case that the reason more and more people feel like they’re floundering, is that they don’t have a strong sense of personal agency. Paul explains what he means by agency, and why learning how to get better at thinking, acting, and making choices for yourself can be the real key to feeling less stuck in life. Paul and I then discuss the seven overarching principles of increasing your agency, as well tactics to put them into practice.

Show Highlights

  • The rise of anxiety and “overwhelm” among the patients of the authors
  • Why stress reduction is the wrong approach/fix 
  • What is “agency”? 
  • Why structured childhoods make for overwhelmed adulthoods
  • The 7 principles to increase your sense of agency 
  • What are the stimuli we need to manage to increase our agency?
  • Why you need to ditch multi-tasking and take up mono-tasking
  • The influence of the people we spend time with 
  • The role of exercise/movement in agency 
  • Why getting outside is so beneficial to our sense of agency 
  • What it means to position yourself as a learner
  • Managing emotions 
  • How to get better at making important decisions 
  • What impedes our taking action?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Dr. Napper

Book website

Paul’s website

Paul on Twitter

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The post Podcast #507: How to Increase Your Personal Agency appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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