Self-Efficacy: Why Self-Belief Matters in Achieving Goals


What do you think the reason why most people fail in their goals? Is success dependent on luck? Of course not. Success is determined not by coincidence but by believing in your own capability. In psychology, this self-belief is called self-efficacy.

What is self-efficacy?

Although self-efficacy is a concept that is not new to the modern world, Albert Bandura had made this concept more detailed. According to him, self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to successfully perform a task at hand.

Therefore, success is determined not by one’s ability but his/her self-belief in carrying the task to completion. Thus to win a competition in any form of sports, athletes must believe that they can win. Otherwise, they fail.

Sometimes in life, we ask ourselves whether or not we will be able to fulfill a certain responsibility. And sometimes, if not most of the time we doubted our own capability. When there’s doubt, uncertainties will set in.

But how do you know that you have a sense of self-efficacy?

If you are the high scorer on self-efficacy tests (strong sense of self-efficacy), you probably;

  • Love challenges
  • Interested in the activities you involve
  • Committed to what you are doing
  • Not deeply affected by frustrations

On the other hand, if you are a low scorer on self-efficacy tests (weak sense of self-efficacy), you probably;

  • Avoid challenges
  • Feel incapable of achieving challenging tasks
  • Value frustrations more than success
  • Give up easily

Albert Bandura suggests several reasons as to how a person develops self-efficacy. These factors are the following:

Mastery Experience

What does this mean? Bandura proposed that achievement on one task leads to a stronger belief in one’s ability to fulfill the same task. But failing is detrimental to one’s self-belief. In other words, if you succeed in a task, you are more likely to believe that you can achieve the same challenge than when you fail. Hence prior experience affects your self-assessment in your strengths.

Social Modeling

Self-efficacy also develops by observing others. When one sees other people of the same ability, talent or circumstances, one might also think that he/she can also succeed. In essence, you are making other people’s performance as your basis.

Social Persuasion

Your friends and families are a powerful source of self-efficacy. When people appreciate your talent or skill, you’ll be more likely to believe that you indeed can achieve. Verbal encouragements can help boost your self-efficacy.

Psychological Responses

Your psychological responses play important role in maintaining self-efficacy. Emotional states such as stress, anxiety can have a negative impact on your self-belief. Feeling extremely nervous during class recitation or delivering a speech impairs your ability to succeed in the task. So learning how to control your emotional states helps you effectively function in a self-efficacy demanding task.

These are the factors that help self-efficacy develop. But the question is how can you improve your self-belief in your own capability? Below is the useful suggestion for improving your self-efficacy.

Visualization. Dreaming for something nice to happen is not enough. You need to set goals, right? But successful people have a rare habit – the habit of seeing themselves as successful ones before they actually succeed. Sounds weird right? But it’s not. Studies have proven this. Having a clear picture in your mind about something you desperately want to succeed can help you become successful. This is the beauty of the human brain – its ability to make imaginations into reality. What you hold in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.

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