Self-Efficacy and Personal Success
Most of us tend to question ourselves and our capabilities frequently. We often put too much emphasis on our weaknesses without having a good understanding of our strengths. I was watching a short video which asked 50 people one question: “If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?” The question was simple, but the responses were interesting. The most astonishing thing was that the responses from children and adults differed from each other significantly. Here are some of the responses from adults: “Only one?”, “I would change my forehead, I have a really big forehead”, “I would like to have smaller ears.”, “Definitely, my skin, because I have lots of acne on my skin.”
Now, here are some of the children’s responses: “mmm”, “I could have wings to fly”, “I like my body, actually. I don’t want anything else.” Lots of questions came to my mind after watching the video: why do we as adults have become so picky of ourselves? , do we lose self-confidence as we grow older?, when was the last time that we felt really satisfied with our body, our mind, and enjoyed all the good things we have got in our life?
But, the most important question was that how this lack of self-confidence and self-efficacy can influence our lives. Self-efficacy is related to our judgment about ourselves and our ability to perform well in a particular area. It is a perception that we have about ourselves and what we can or cannot do. In a series of theoretical and empirical studies, Bandura and colleagues found a positive relationship between self-efficacy and performance accomplishment. In addition, they found that self-efficacy can play a significant role in long-term goal commitment and goal achievement: Self percepts of efficacy predict individual’s behavior, their thought patterns, and their emotional reactions in the long run and under taxing situations. People with high levels of self-efficacy exert more effort and persist longer in the face of difficulties. Therefore, they are more likely to surpass insurmountable barriers that occur in the way of their desired goals.
Considering the importance of self-efficacy in successful performance accomplishment, it is highly critical to find ways to boost one’s self-efficacy. However, too much self-efficacy can also backfire, especially if it is not based on actual personal capabilities. It can make us too confident about ourselves, so we stop expending effort towards building capabilities that are required for achieving our desired goals. In fact, high levels of self-efficacy during the goal planning phase will result in overconfidence bias. In this case,the individuals will allocate fewer resources towards the goal because they believe it can be achieved easily (e.g., requires few resources). In addition, overconfident people may expose themselves more to tempting situations that override their long-term goals (Nordgren et al., 2009). For example, they might choose to work with a television or take “a quick break” to have a drink with friends instead of focusing on their long-term goals. Thus, may be the first step for us is to find where on the self-efficacy continuum we are, before deciding whether we should increase or decrease our self-efficacy in order to realize our longed-for dreams!
If you are interested in this post and would like to check your level of self-efficacy, you can take our Self-efficacy Test and get immediate feedback about yourself.