I think I can, I think I can….
Has anyone ever read the children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could”? For those of you who haven’t read the story let me summarise it for you. The story is about a little engine who had to travel across a mountainside to deliver toys for small boys and girls who could not have them unless she travelled through it. The little engine then said to herself I think I can. I think I can. I think I can, and then proceeded to chug successfully up the mountainside to deliver the toys.
The belief that you can achieve what you want is at the core of the Self-Efficacy idea. The sense of personal control a person has is an important determinant of how successful the person becomes not only in the professional arena but also the personal arena. Self Efficacy has been defined by many psychologists but one of the most popular definitions of these has been by Bandura who defined Self Efficacy as “Peoples’ beliefs in their capabilities to produce desired effects by their own actions.”
Is Self Efficacy learned or genetically endowed? Self- efficacy is a learned human pattern of thinking rather than a genetically endowed one. An infant starts developing self-efficacy which continues throughout the life. According to Bandura, the developmental antecedents of self-efficacy include:
- Previous successes in situations similar to ones you are currently facing, high self-efficacy would mean that you had more successes in such situations.
- Even your imagination of effectively dealing with situations to secure a warranted goals
- Being persuaded verbally by powerful, trustworthy, and attractive other people.
- Observing other people and modelling on others who have managed this situations successfully.
- Positive arousal and emotions also heightens self efficacy.
Some of you reading this article might feel that self efficacy is not that important a life skill. But do you know that studies around the world have shown how important is self-efficacy.
Researches have shown that people with high self efficacy:
- Perceive all challenging problems as tasks which need to be mastered
- Have a deep interest in the activities they undertake
- Have a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
- are able to deal effectively and quickly with any setbacks they face
People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:
- Avoid taking challenging tasks
- Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
- Focus more on personal failings and negative outcomes rather than the positive outcomes
Self-efficacy has been found to be involved in successful coping with a variety of psychological problems.It has been implicated in playing a protective role in dealing with psychological problems that help people to select and structure their environments in ways that set a successful course. Also studies have shown that people with high self efficacy are able to overcome eating disorders and abuse(DiClemente et al, 1995) and higher life satisfaction in a variety of populations( Charrow,2006). Lower self-efficacy has been linked with depression, avoidance and anxiety(Williams,1995).
Self-efficacy is also related to positive physical health as people with high self-efficacy engage in more positive health related behaviours and decrease unhealthy ones. Its involved in adaptive biological processes such as immune functioning and stress management.
Therefore my friends Self-Efficacy is an important life skill that needs to be developed. You decide whether you want to be one who avoids the difficulties that come in your way or rise up to the challenge and face them and fight them.
“Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbeleif assuredly spawns failure”- Albert Bandura