Self-efficacy has an incredible power. To illustrate it better, allow me to introduce you to two persons. The first one is Lara – she started her career in acting during her childhood.. Unlike other child actors, who leave the world of showbusiness, she stayed and made a great career. She owns multiple properties, visits the top notch events, knows the most important people in the industry, has complete financial stability and has fame. She has it all! Yet, she is crying herself to sleep. She has been abusing drugs for quite some time. She overdosed. Twice. She feels lonely. She feels the world is happening to her and she has no idea how to change it.

And now meet Mike. He is in jail. He has been there for 4 years already. He used to be a drug dealer. The first weeks in jail were hard. He was sorry for himself to end up there. But 4 years is a lot of time for thinking. Even though he’s been locked in one small place, his mind’s been free. He has seemingly nothing. Yet he is happy. He is visiting the prison library, working out and planning how his life after prison will look like. He has 3 more years to go.

Self-efficacy is a belief that we actually can influence our life

When adversity strikes, we take it as a fundamentally bad thing. But these are the experiences that makes us more resilient and stronger. It is not easy to see the bright side. But at the end of the day, it is the only way to go forward.

Whatever happens to us, good or bad. The choice is ours. We can feel like victims or we ask ourselves one important question “What is actually in my control?”

Barbora Fredrickson talks about the “Broaden-and-Build” approach. When we actively seek and invite positive emotions into our life we increase the capability of seeing the big picture and build resources from this broader picture. On the contrary, if we focus on negative emotions, our perspective becomes more narrow and local. Focused on the negativity and pessimism.

How to build self-efficacy

Albert Bandura is one of the most renowned psychologists in the world. According to him, there are 4 ways how we can build self-efficacy:

Mastery experiences

In this step we can experiment with self-efficacy. The key is to set for ourselves realistic but challenging goals. Too easy goals makes us feel accomplished for a while, yet they don’t bring results we expect, what leads to disappointment and questioning our abilities.

Social modeling

Find a role model who demonstrate their self efficacy. It can be someone who was struggling with adversity but managed to go through and bounce back to daily life. This person can be a great source of motivation for you.

Social persuasion

Find a mentor who will help you and directly influence your self-efficacy. Choose someone who you can trust and who will lead you through the whole process.

States of physiology

Do you have sometimes the feeling that your worst enemy lives in your head? There is that little voice judging every step we make and predicts the worst scenarios. It’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, worried, tired. In a wake of these feelings, that tiny voice in our mind makes the sense of failure stronger and deeper. There are no bad emotions, there are just emotions. The knowledge of these processes can set you free. Try some stress relieving activities, work out and learn to listen to signals of your body.

In recent blog posts we wrote about the first and the second keys of resilience – acceptance and optimism. Next week we’ll talk in more depth about the fourth key of resilience: Responsibility.