Self-efficacy: The Power of Feeling Capable
Do you feel that you’re able to meet all the goals you set for yourself? Maybe you’ve decided to create your own company or learn a new language. You may have doubts about your own ability to achieve these things. If you have these doubts, this may be an indicator that you have low or weak self-efficacy. If you’re having this problem, it’ll be unlikely for you to get what you actually want.
A perfect example of the concept of self-efficacy was Obama’s speech during the presidential campaign. We’re talking about his famous slogan “Yes, we can!” This is a positive and motivating message. If we were to turn it into our mantra, we’d see that meeting our goals is possible regardless of how big or impossible they may seem. All we have to do is believe that we’re capable. This means that we must trust in our abilities and know that we’re able to face challenges successfully.
“Trusting yourself doesn’t guarantee success, but failure to do so guarantees failure.”
Psychologist Albert Bandura was very interested in this concept. This psychologist developed a theory in which he stated that there are certain variables in a person that influence their behavior. These variables are also related to a feeling of self-efficacy. One of them is precisely the degree to which the subject trusts their abilities or believes that they can achieve a goal.
However, believing isn’t always enough to feel valid or capable. For this reason, we’ll address three important aspects that may help increase our self-efficacy. By dedicating enough time to each one of them, we can achieve the things we set out to do.
It’s impossible for everything in our lives to be perfect or even good. There are also many things that we’ll have to work hard for. Now, this doesn’t imply that we can’t achieve our goals in most cases. It means that we have to discover what we need to work on. We can find new skills to invest our time in so that we can reach our objectives.
For this, we have to see ourselves in an honest light. We have to know what stands between us and our goal. What do we have working in our favor? Is there something working against us that we can focus on? The important thing is to not give up. First, we need to analyze, plan, and reflect. We can achieve most of our dreams with effort and enthusiasm.
On the other hand, we have to evaluate and ensure that our goals are actually achievable. Once we’re sure about this, we need to remind ourselves that any worthy achievement takes time. We’re not going to gain experience in areas we’ve never ventured in overnight. However, when we look back, we’ll realize how far we’ve come.
Slowly, but surely
A fragile self-efficacy originates in haste and fleeing forward in an impulsive attempt to achieve what we want. Experiences are meant to be made in the long-term, not the short-term. Not knowing how to wait and rushing through something will lead us directly to failure. People seek immediate satisfaction so that they can have everything they want right when they want it. It’s rare for someone to wait months or years to get it.
Success is based on perseverance. Persevering through tasks is much better than any sudden change. Thanks to perseverance, we can grow and increase our self-efficacy. It’s very difficult to achieve our goals without it.
When we launch ourselves forward quickly, we may end up back in square one.
Let’s imagine that we’re part of a rock climbing group. If we’re in a hurry to get to the top, we won’t take the time to strategize about how we should move forward. We may fall because we didn’t create a plan. Our nerves may get the best of us because we’re not going as quickly as we want to. However, we’ll keep on wanting to get to the destination quickly. And so, at some point, we’ll block ourselves and self-doubt will emerge. It’ll make us question if we’ll ever reach our goal. In this case, we didn’t pay enough attention to our self-efficacy. Therefore, it disappeared little by little.
Now, if we were to look at where we should put our hands and feet and how we should grip and hold, we’d learn little by little what works and what doesn’t work. Although our ascent may be slow, we’ll know that sooner or later we’ll reach the top. In this way, we’re learning and growing. We’re also placing trust in ourselves and in our progress. We still may fall, but we’ll get up and try again without hesitation. Our feeling of self-efficacy will have grown by leaps and bounds.
Our path gives us clues
The road we travel on gives us clues that can help direct our course. We just need to free ourselves from rigidity so that we’re open to new alternatives. This way, we can act when we come across obstacles on our path.
If we focus on the obstacles and waste time trying to move them out of the way, we’ll never see what lies ahead. Accepting that we’re going to face challenges along the way is always something we have to keep in mind. This fear of failure can’t be what keeps us from moving forward.
We have to improve continuously. We also have to look around because sometimes things don’t go as planned. Do we really believe that we’re capable and valid? Maybe our inner voice is playing tricks on us and is working against us by using doubts.
Having a high self-efficacy is important if we want to be flexible in adjusting to different circumstances. It allows us to change our course when it’s taking us in the wrong direction. Self-efficacy also allows us to see what’s happening in front of us and shows us how much confidence we should have in ourselves.
“Although the currents pass and the water changes, the river remains the same. Don’t let yourself be dragged down by circumstances. Grow with them.”