Self-efficacy is the level of belief you have in yourself. How likely do you think you are to accomplish your goals? The theory was conceived by Albert Bandura, OC, who wrote, Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations. Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure. If efficacy beliefs always reflected only what people can do routinely they would rarely fail but they would not set aspirations beyond their immediate reach nor mount the extra effort needed to surpass their ordinary performances. People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self-efficacy bounce back from failure; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong. It affects everything from psychological states to behavior to motivation.
There are four major sources. Mastery experiences, doing something right, increases it, but failing can weaken it. Seeing others who I feel are like me succeeding can increase it, as can encouragement from others, and my own moods or emotional states, especially how I perceive those states.
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
I need to develop my sense of self-efficacy. It was battered down at work from 2006 until 2012, and my negativity at the time did not help. Since then I have cut myself off from experiences which might increase it, and all those unsuccessful job interviews have not helped. I am intelligent and creative. I have low self-belief. I had thought myself worthless, only valuable for what I could achieve. I have turned that around: I see myself as beautiful. I need to turn this around too.
Gandhi: 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.
It helps to understand the differences among constructs from related social-cognitive theories (e.g., self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, behavioral intentions, behavioral difficulty, self-esteem, optimism, etc.).
Most of this post is stolen from Verywell. Other pages explaining the concept express these ideas in much the same way: the concept is simple, and fits how we see the world.