Whether someone demonstrates self-confidence by being decisive, trying new things, or staying in control when things get difficult, a person with high self-confidence seems to live life with passion and enthusiasm. Other people tend to trust and respect these confident individuals, which helps them build even more self-confidence – and so the cycle continues.
However, it’s not always easy to initiate that cycle. So, where do you begin?
A good place to start is to look at how effective you believe you are in handling and performing specific tasks. This is termed ‘self-efficacy,’ and it plays an important part in determining your general levels of self-confidence.
Albert Bandura is one of the leading researchers into self-efficacy. His self-efficacy theory explains the relationship between the belief in one’s abilities and how well a person actually performs a task or a range of actions. Bandura says that ‘self-efficacy’ and ‘confidence’ are not quite the same thing. Confidence is a general, not a specific, strength of belief. On the other hand, self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to achieve something specific.
If people have high self-efficacy in an area, then they think, feel, and behave in a way that contributes to and reinforces their success, and improves their personal satisfaction. They’re more likely to view obstacles as challenges to overcome, so they aren’t afraid to face new things. They recover quickly from setbacks, because they view failure more as a result of external circumstances than internal weaknesses. In general, believing in your abilities affects your motivation, your choices, your toughness, and your determination.
Therefore, self-confidence – by way of self-efficacy – often affects how well you perform, and how satisfied you are with the choices you make. This is why it’s important to understand your current level of self-efficacy, particularly in the context of your belief in your ability to perform in a variety of situations. In so doing, you will be able to identify areas where you can improve, and make a plan to do so.