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Improve Your Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the belief you hold about about what you can and cannot make happen in your life. It does not refer to the actual skills you have, but what you believe you can accomplish with those skills. It is about believing you have the ability to pull together your social, physical, thinking and behavioural skills to accomplish bigger, bolder goals than you originally thought possible.

People with a strong sense of self efficacy generally perform at much higher levels partly because they see setbacks and obstacles as challenges to be overcome.

Psychologists have theorised that people have different levels of 'self-efficacy', which is the confident belief that the responses we make to life challenges have a meaningful effect. People with strong self-efficacy face problems with energy and a 'try, try again' spirit.

But how does this quality develop, and why do some people appear to have a higher level of self-efficacy than others?

Self-efficacy comes from life experiences and from people who serve as significant models. It's built up over the years by responding to challenges with action, flexibility and persistence.

Research suggests that we can increase the self-efficacy we bring to bear on our experiences by:

  1. Living a life of goals. We can't develop self-efficacy unless we succeed at things, and we can't succeed if we don't have goals. Set goals for your life, and give yourself credit when you achieve them.

  2. Setting reasonable goals. Aim to set levels that are challenging but realistic enough that you'll be able to reach them.

  3. Finding good role models. A model or mentor doesn't have to be someone you actually know, but they should be inspirational figures who demonstrate mastery.

  4. Talking to yourself positively. Instead of belittling yourself for the tiniest faults, build yourself up for the smallest successes.

  5. Remembering that it all takes energy and effort to succeed. Athletes know that you have to want to win and put in hours of training to make the mark; everyday life also needs that push to succeed.

Virtually all people can identify goals they want to accomplish, things they would like to change, and things they would like to achieve. However, most people also realize that putting these plans into action is not quite so simple. Psychologists have found that an individual’s self-efficacy plays a major role in how goals, tasks, and challenges are approached.

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered.

  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate.

  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities.

  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments.

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks.

  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities.

  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes.

  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities.

It is your lack of the sense of self-efficacy that blocks your personal growth and affects your self-esteem. If you would like to raise your level of self-efficacy, follow the suggestions bellow:

Knowledge is the key:

Someone rightly said that you are only afraid of what you don’t know. You need to understand yourself and why you do what you do and identify your strengths and weaknesses. If your current responses do not give you the life that you want, you need to learn things outside your present knowledge, skills and experiences. You don’t know how and what to do because you have not questioned yourself enough and have not acquired enough knowledge and experiences. Learning how to effectively use your brain, to focus and to control your thoughts are skills that you can acquire if you put in the effort and determination. So come on, increase your knowledge banks!

Challenge your negative assumptions:

You must set out to challenge your existing negative assumptions about your capability, ability and competence. You need to toughen your mentality to fight your fear and look at your actual potential. Your effectiveness will increase if you create a different perception of your present reality. Change the way you think about yourself and your circumstances by understanding and applying a few fundamental principles of success. It doesn’t take a hundred things to change your thinking, just a few will create the difference. Get out of the mould of believing, “I can’t” and let the new mantra be, “I can”.

Do it yourself:

Another way to improve your self-efficacy and to know whether something is working is to do things yourself. If it fails to produce the result, go on trying something else and react positively to the circumstance. Ask yourself what will happen if you go a little further and try one more little thing and take the next step. If it works, you have probably got enough information. Your successful performance will raise your self-efficacy, motivate and deepen your belief about your competency and effectiveness and inspire you to identify yourself, instead of others, with success.

See how other people do things:

Study the experts and do what they do. You can determine their effectiveness by looking at their results. By observing them you will develop your awareness, increase your choices and get a clear possible picture of the outcome that you desire. Nothing is impossible if someone has done it. Then you copy what they are doing by taking the same actions. Successful people help you develop a positive mindset of expecting things to work out.

Planning and preparation:

Planning and preparation allow you to expect better results and achieve your goals. Brainstorming ideas, setting goals and writing down your action steps are the preparation that you need to take to qualify yourself to produce results and have control. The time spent on this activity will never become wasted energy. Everything counts. Plan and prepare your days, weeks, months and years ahead because that is where you are going to spend your life. Planning and preparation bring a state of mind in which nothing seems impossible. How true are the words, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail!”

Use your brain and mind effectively:

You may have been tricked into believing that you are ineffective, incompetent and that many things are impossible. Your beliefs, identity and the language you use on yourself have brought about your predicaments. You can re-train yourself to change your life story by using your brain and your mind to re-frame and learn new tricks. Only you have the power over the pictures you want to see, or the words you want to hear and the feelings you want to experience internally. Whatever happens inside will reveal on the outside. So for now, concentrate on changing within, the magic outside will follow.

Self-efficacy, then, seems to be the magic wand that guarantees a great life. “We find that people’s beliefs about their efficacy affects the sorts of choices they make in very significant ways. In particular, it affects their levels of motivation and perseverance in the face of obstacles. Most success requires persistent efforts, so low self-efficacy becomes a self-limiting process. In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, strung together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.”

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