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Self-efficacy: What is it?

What is self-efficacy?

Self-efficacy is the belief in your capability/capacity to be successful, to achieve or to attain.

It can play a huge part in affecting our chances for success. It is important to pay attention to self-efficacy when you are setting your goals as you must ensure that your efficacy beliefs are in line with your aims. Albert Bandura (1977), a humanist defined it as 'people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise their influence over events that affect their lives'.

Why is self-efficacy so important?

Self-efficacy is important as it strengthens our possibilities of becoming successful (in however you measure success).

In a world where people lack self-worth and experience an increased amount of self-doubt, self-efficacy is becoming more and more important. It plays a huge role in our lives as it influences our thoughts, emotions, actions and motivation. You must be able to trust in yourself to be able to achieve what you want to achieve in life.

Where does self-efficacy come from?

The originator of the theory, Albert Bandura names four sources of efficacy beliefs.

Mastery experiences: Past success and failures impact our self-efficacy

Vicarious learning: The success and failures of relatable figures such as friends or family members impact our self-efficacy

Present state: The perception of our physical and mental health can develop self-efficacy

Observational learning: Success and failures of our personal role models can impact our core beliefs

yellow smiling plush

How do I promote and develop self-efficacy?

1. Step out of your comfort zone and step into your learning zone:

  • Set small goals.
  • Take on new challenges.
  • Accept failures and criticism positively.
  • Do not overthink the outcome of task and instead focus on approaching tasks slowly (no pressure!).

2. Look at the bigger picture

  • People with high self-efficacy usually have the power to look beyond short-term failures and do not allow these to damage their self-belief. By looking at the bigger picture and our bigger goals can help you maintain a high self-efficacy.
  • It allows you to focus on your top priorities, helps you make better plans, and permits you to focus on them more efficiently.

3. Reframing your obstacles

  • Replace the way in which you look at failures with positive affirmations, 'I can't do it ... yet,' 'I'll try it differently'.
  • Avoid seeing failure as personal shortcomings and try and find ways to look at the failure positively - try and learn from them and move on (everyone makes mistakes).
  • Remember, failure is inevitable. Remind yourself of your abilities, believe in yourself and focus on where you are going and what you want to achieve.

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny - Gandhi


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