Every step you have taken since you downloaded this little app has been in progress towards building self-efficacy, or your belief in your ability to succeed in a given situation. We can consider this one the hyper-specific level, like succeeding to make a plate of eggs in the morning, or we can expand our understanding to a more broad, global level, and judge how prepared we are to succeed in life as a whole.
And the research tells us that this belief is as important, or more important, than the actual reality of your ability. In essence, if you believe you are capable, that is more predictive of overall success than actual skills and ability. There’s a certain stick-to-it-ivness to believing in our abilities, isn’t there?
Originally coined by Alfred Bandura in the 1970’s, the concept of self-efficacy has a direct impact on our success by influencing our thoughts, actions, and motivations. If we believe we’re capable, we’re more likely to try something. We’re more likely to persevere when things become challenging, and we’re more likely to feel positively about ourselves along the way.
Much like autonomy, self-efficacy is a skill and belief structure to add to our toolbox. When we have high self-efficacy, we have resilience when things don’t go to plan. We have confidence in our abilities, we’re more interested in the task at hand, and we see challenge as appealing. On the flip side, when we have weak self-efficacy, we stop before we even try. We focus on our personal failures and negative outcomes, we are unable to take a lesson from hardship, and we lack confidence in our abilities.
If the latter hits a little close to home, you’re probably not alone. When we experience setbacks, failures, and challenges, it’s normal to default to avoidance or giving up. This is a perfectly normal human reaction. But when we understand the benefits of self-efficacy, this gives us the motivation to keep trying.