Albert Bandura, a renowned social scientist, defines self efficacy as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self efficacy influences people’s feelings, thoughts and motivations about themselves and hence affects their behaviour. Simply put is someone’s belief in their ability to accomplish a certain task or to meet a certain goal.
There are four major ways through which how a person feels, thinks, motivates themselves and behave come about. These processes include:
People who have high efficacy achieve more in life. They are likely to view challenges as opportunities rather than risks to be avoided. Such people will normally have keen interest in activities and have a tendency to get very engrossed. They are more able to commit to goals they have set for themselves even when things do not seem to be going their way.
On the contrary people who do not have self efficacy find it difficult to complete tasks. They are bound to have low expectations since they do not think they can accomplish much. They focus on the possible negative outcomes when they have a task in hand and therefore they fail to concentrate on doing the task well. When faced with just a small challenge they tend to give up more easily than those who have self efficacy.
Where does self efficacy come from?
Self efficacy is built from mastery experiences. When someone has undergone through challenging situations and managed to overcome, they gain confidence and belief in themselves. It is therefore necessary for everyone to go through some kind of challenge before achieving their goals otherwise; even a little failure will discourage them. People who are used to getting everything easy do not have the back bone to withstand even a little resistance or delay in success.
Another way you can gain self efficacy is through social modelling. When people see others who are from similar backgrounds or circumstances as their own achieving certain things, they gain confidence that they can equally do the same. In the same vein, watching other around you fail can cause you to lack self efficacy.
The level of success or failure of an individual by basing their self efficacy on a social model will depend on perceived similarity. The level of failure will be higher if the level of perceived similarity is equally high.
Efficacy can also be achieved through word of mouth. People can be empowered by being told constantly that they can as opposed to they can’t. Through word of mouth, people can be encouraged to acquire important skills that will help them to achieve their goals. However, someone who was encouraged verbally alone may lose belief in themselves when they get consistent negative results when they apply themselves.
Therefore in order to achieve instilling self efficacy in an individual one has to apply a multi-thronged approach. People may need a model who they can relate to make it believable. The model can convince them verbally.
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