Self-Efficacy as a Key to Your Success

August 25, 2018 by  

Self-efficacy relates to a person’s ability to have optimistic beliefs, but it’s more than just optimism, perceived self-efficacy explicitly refers to the belief in our ability to deal with challenging encounters. Thus it is one’s belief that they have the capacity to organize and execute the necessary course of action in order to manage situations as they occur.

Self perceptions of self-efficacy affect us in many ways: in our thought patterns, our actions and our physical and emotional states of arousal. People with low self- efficacy experience anxiety, hopelessness, and anger. They find it harder to bounce back after adversity. Those with high self-efficacy experience fulfillment and feelings of calmness that accompany decisiveness and certainty. They are resilient with stressful situations, self-starters, and self-motivating.

Here is how it affects our rate of success:
Self-efficacy provides the foundation for human motivation, well being and personal accomplishments. The more we believe we can do, the more we invest, and thus the greater likelihood we will accomplish what we set out to do.
Empirical research has shown that a belief in one’s ability to cope is a stronger predictor of success than objectively possessing the knowledge and operations skills necessary to get the task done. This is because how we perceive our abilities impacts how we choose to utilize those tools in such a significant way, that it’s more valuable to the outcome than the quality and quantity of the tools themselves.
In our daily lives we make decisions about not only what course of action to pursue but how long to continue the behaviors we have undertaken. Self-efficacy affects how much effort and energy we invest in the decisions we make.
Therefore a positive outcome is not necessarily a matter of what is objectively true regarding the knowledge or the skills possessed at the time of the dilemma, but rather a matter of one’s attitude since self-perception is more likely to influence behaviour.
That is why talented people can be plagued with self doubt while someone who is less talented will put themselves out there and get the task done. Along the way, the less talented person may experience some setbacks but they generally just ignore or discount them and maintain their perseverance toward their goal.

How to build self-efficacy:
As humans we have self regulatory mechanisms that provide us with the potential for self directed changes in our behaviour.
The manner and degree to which people self-regulate their actions are based on the ACCURACY and CONSISTENCY of self observation. The ability to appropriately self-monitor and make judgments regarding one’s own choices needs to be developed and sustained.

Here is how to start:
1. Be mindful of your own emotions– Ask yourself what primary emotions you are feeling and how likely they are to influence your behaviour.
2. An Assumption Detective– Get in touch with your underlying attitudes and the assumptions of individual decisions or hesitations (things you are avoiding) and investigate how truthful they are. Use simple tasks to help develop the necessary skill. For example, if you decide to take a cab versus the train, the assumption may be that you will arrive sooner. But is that necessarily true? Ask yourself what could have happened if you had done the opposite? Then apply that approach to the things you are avoiding: if you don’t ask your boss for a raise is it because the assumption is that he will definitely say “No”. If you are not certain, then investigate before you let assumptions rule your actions.
3. Challenge your attributions: Attributions are the judgments we make about our own or the behaviors of others. Look for specific, situational causes to events rather than global or personal points of view to explain things. This will give you a better blue print for how to change your behavior.
4. Focus on Intent Vs Outcome: Set Tangible & Measurable Behaviour Goals vs Subjective/ Outcome goals: Self-motivators set personal behaviour goals that encourage them to work in self directed ways. This involves measuring success by an objective means that focuses on intent versus outcome. For example, setting a goal of eating 1500 calories a day versus losing 5lbs or “trying to stay on your diet”. This is especially important since the most influential source of one’s self-efficacy is the interpreted results of one’s previous performance.
5. Watch & Mimic an Expert Model: Through vicarious learning opportunities we can feel confident that we are making the right decision simply because we have witnessed others being successful using similar strategies.
6. Avoid too much negative feedback & Surround yourself with Positivity: Social persuasion through feedback from others, including verbal judgments, constructive criticism, and praise, has a significant impact on how we rate our efforts. For the most part, negative feedback can have a stronger impact than positive ones, therefore try to focus your attention on strategies that utilize your strengths, cope with your weaknesses, and avoid conversations or mental thoughts that involve berating yourself.
7. Meditate & Breath: Learn to calm Body Sensations and Emotional States- People have a tendency to gauge the degree of confidence by their emotional state when they contemplate a particular action. Thus, when we are anxious and hopeless we look to escape, convincing ourselves we should throw in the towel sooner, because we think ” Why bother it is not going to work, so what is the point? Such a defeatist attitude will not help you to succeed, better to take a more positive approach and figure you can do it!

The famous Roman poet Virgil wrote:
“We are who we think we are-”. And one thing is certain, if we give up we definitely won’t win!
So, if you adopt a positive attitude, decide, no matter what you are not going to give up until you accomplish your goals no matter what, you will certainly be more successful in all aspects of your life.

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