Graphic with students in group talking with text for Discovering Inner Forces and Identity, Agency, and Purpose

Making intentional choices and adjusting course as needed to derive a course of action  

The choices we make every day shape our life paths. Sometimes, we make choices without even realizing it. Other times, we agonize over what feels like a life-or-death decision. But whether we realize it or not, the choices we make have a profound impact on the direction of our lives.

The key question to ask yourself is: How do I make intentional choices to shape my life path? 

So how can we make sure that we’re making the right choices? How can we be intentional about the decisions we’re making, instead of just going with the flow?

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of agency and how it can help us make better choices in our lives.

What is agency?

Agency is the power or ability to act. We all have agency — the ability to choose our own actions and shape our own lives. However, not all of us use our agency in the same way.  

Some people seem to float through life without giving much thought to the choices they’re making. They may go with the flow and do what’s expected of them, without really thinking about what they want or what would make them happy. As a result, their lives often don’t turn out the way they’d hoped.  

On the other hand, people who are aware of their agency tend to be more intentional about their choices. They think about what they want out of life and make choices that will help them achieve their goals. As a result, they’re more likely to end up where they want to be — both in terms of their career and their personal life. 

How to use your agency

Now that you know what agency is, you might be wondering how you can use it to your advantage. Here are a few tips:  

1. Be aware of your agency

The first step is simply being aware that you have agency—that you have the power to choose your own actions and shape your own life path. Once you realize that you’re in control of your own destiny, it becomes easier to make intentional choices that will lead you in the right direction.  

2. Know what you want out of life

What are your goals and dreams? What makes you happy? Once you know what you want out of life, it becomes much easier to make choices that will help you achieve those things.  

3. Be mindful of your choices

It’s not enough just to know what you want out of life—you also need to be mindful of the choices you’re making on a daily basis. Are your choices helping you move closer to your goals? Or are they keeping you stuck in a rut? If they’re not helping you achieve your goals, it might be time to adjust course and try something new.  

4. Set aside time each day to reflect on your choices

It’s important to take some time each day to reflect on the choices you’ve made and how they’ve affected your life path. This will help you stay mindful of your agency and ensure that you’re making deliberate, intentional choices that are taking you where you want to go.  

The bottom line is this: You have agency — the power to choose your own actions and shape your own life path.

Use your agency wisely by being aware of your choices and making deliberate decisions that will lead you toward the life you want. Live intentionally and create the life YOU want.

Co-authored with AI
Making Waves Education Foundation generated this text in part with artificial intelligence. Content has been reviewed, edited, and revised to our organization’s liking and we take ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.

About Making Waves Education Foundation

At Making Waves, we are committed to educational equity. Making Waves Education Foundation is a Bay Area nonprofit that supports Making Waves Academy – a public charter school with more than 1,100 5th through 12th grade students – and leads college and career programming with more than 430 college students.​

Knowing the opportunities that come with a college degree, we partner with historically underrepresented and underserved students to help make college affordable and graduation attainable. Centering the journeys of our students, our personalized approach includes college and career coaching, scholarships, and financial planning.​

Our alumni network includes more than 730 college graduates, who earn their degrees and land jobs at more than twice the rate of their first-generation, low-income peers, with 85% graduating debt-free.

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