Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What's Your Inspiation

Self-Efficacy... the mother of Self-Confidence
 "People’s level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe, than on what is objectively the case.” Dr. Albert  Bandar

Self-efficacy refers to the strength of your belief in your own ability to successfully achieve your goals, or the ability you have to persist at a particular task.
In the real world it could be a measure of how long you will stick to your exercise regimen or weight loss diet.
Psychologist Dr. Bandura’s initial research on self-efficacy investigated the individual's release of neurotransmitters and stress-related hormones into the bloodstream when confronted by a stressful or threatening environment. His research resulted in research participants overcoming lifelong phobias within a matter of  hours. Participants even engaged in activities they otherwise never would have attempted because they now felt they had more control of themselves.

The bottom line of Dr. Bandura’s research on self-efficacy is that belief in one’s capabilities helps you to control and regulate all of the circumstances in your life, all of which will ultimately impact the direction of your life and the person you become in all aspects of your life, including, education, health, athletics, business, medical, social and political change, moral development etc.. No one is exempt from perceived self-efficacy.

A person with high self-efficacy believes in their abilities which in turn affects their motivation, confidence, choices, toughness, and above all, their determination. High or low self-efficacy determines if you choose to accept a challenging task or dismiss it as an impossibility.

A person with high self-efficacy is not bothered by setbacks, because they know that failure is a result of external circumstances, and not some manner of personal weakness.
Dr. Bandurar’s self-efficacy theory holds that self-efficacy and self-confidence are not one in the same thing. Confidence is a general overall strength of belief in your capabilities, such as,” I think I’m a very good writer. Self-efficacy is the belief in one's capabilities to be successful at something very specific, such as, “ I’m a great poet.”
According to the self-efficacy theory, self-concept is not to be confused with self-confidence. Self-concept is a judgement of self-worth.  Self-concept is an appraisal of self, rather than an appraisal of an independent goal. It’s not a question of “can I do it ?” rather a question of, “Do I feel like doing it ?”

Individuals who have an general sense low self-efficacy tend to focus on personal deficiencies, lack of skills, and self-doubts. They are often stymied by obstacles, tend to exert less effort, and set lower goals, all of which results in underachievement and an overall lack of success. Research shows that this group is less likely to recover from setbacks and have high rates of stress and depression.
It should be restated that even though one’s perception of one’s own self-efficacy level is not necessarily accurate, nor incorrect, your perception will still influence your choice of activities and environmental settings. Therefore individual activities will either be avoided or undertaken.

It’s perfectly normal for any individual to have a perceived low self-efficacy in certain areas of their life, and high perceived high self-efficacy in other areas. “ I can learn new languages very easily, but I’m lousy at mathematics.”
It’s impossible to acquire mastery of every realm of human life. People choose an area in which to cultivate their efficacy, and the level to which they develop it.

The 4 Sources of Perceived Self-Efficacy
The foundation of self-efficacy comes from social learning theory that is based on the premise that people learn through social interactions where observation of others and the mimicking of their behaviors is a key part of social learning theory.
Social learning dictates that in order for someone to perform a desired behavior, he/she must believe that: a) they can perform the behavior b) they must believe that the benefits of performing the behavior outweigh the costs
It's important to understand your current level of self-efficacy and in so doing, you will be able to identify areas where you can improve, and make a plan to do so.
1.Mastery Experiences
People  gain mastery of new skills through workshops, training programs, internships, lessons and clinical experiences. When we attempt to do something and are successful at it, we have mastered it.
Repeated success at mastery boosts our sense of self-efficacy, but, if mastery comes easy or with little or no effort, and the work ethic has ultimately not been learned, one may become vulnerable when faced with challenges.
Conversely someone who has overcome many challenges on the way to mastery will have a more accurate high sense of self-efficacy

2.Social Modeling
This is watching other people do something and then making a judgement of your own capabilities to successfully master the same activity.                                       “If he can do it, then I can certainly do it”.                                                                   “If she can’t do it, there’ no way I could ever dream about doing it”.

3.Social Persuasion
Someone can be persuaded to believe that they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve your goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.
In Emanuel’s case it was his teacher who believed in his ability and told him that he was certainly good enough to perform in her student recital, even though he was a relatively new piano student.
Conversely someone can also be persuaded to believe that they do not have the skills and capabilities to succeed. This is what's called SNIOPing. More about SNIOPing in chapter 11of, Quiet Determination, unlocking the gates to unlimited success!".
4.Emotional States
Our responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A concert pianist who becomes extremely nervous before performing on stage may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy, also known as stage fright.
It’s not the emotional and physical reactions that is important, but rather how they are perceived and interpreted, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure to perform the feared tasks. If you learn how to minimize stress and your elevate mood in the face of a challenging task, you can improve your sense of self-efficacy.
The 4 Psychological Processes of Perceived Self-Efficacy
Every task is preceded by thoughts about your capability to carry out the task as well as the consequences that executing the task brings.
 Actions are motivated by something, be it the expected outcomes of, or the goals of the action.
This is the perceived efficacy of your ability to cope with the stress that comes with  handling challenges.
This last process is the decision as to what activities that you feel you are capable of, while avoiding activities you perceive to be incapable of doing successfully. Life is molded by the choices we make.

Measuring Self-Efficacy
As I mentioned earlier,that as an individual, your self-efficacy is made up of your overall personal efficacy, which  stems from an endless list of eclectic domains which include areas such as: problem solving, athletics, parental, management, artistic... only to name a few.
There’s no one-size-fits-all method of measuring self-efficacy.  Each domain exists within it’s own exclusively unique situation and circumstance, and thusly each domain must have a unique “scale” of perceived self-efficacy as measured by a unique set of influential factors.

In order to measure the perceived self-efficacy for any particular domain, all the behavioral aspects of the domain must be considered, and care must be taken to ensure that any factors in the scale that can’t be linked to the domain, must be rephrased or tossed out.

Therefore, determining your self-efficacy in regards to your ability to water ski would include items such as: balance, strength, willingness to learn new things, agility, but, your ability to write poetry has no place in the scale of things to be measured.

How to Build a Self-Efficacy Scale
Brainstorm to make a list of challenges that might keep you from performing a particular task/behavior.
Rate your ability to meet or surpass any of given challenges (barriers) on a sliding scale from 0-10, or 0-100.

Because people always hope that they will one day be capable of a certain task or behavior, we naturally rate ourselves higher than the ability we actually possess in the here and now. In order to make your response as unbiased as possible it’s a good idea to take a practice run on a simple a simple unrelated subject, such as, “I can do 50 push ups.”

What‘s in your corner?
Get yourself a pen and paper and write your answer to the following questions, in as much detail as possible. Notice I said “write your answer”, and not “think about” your answer. Seeing your thoughts in a concrete form, inspires even more thoughts,deeper thoughts.

What’s your inspiration for doing whatever it is that you do ?
Why do you go to work everyday?
Who else besides you, will benefit from your achievements ?

Building an unlimited sense of self-efficacy a major player in the key to unlimited success. Self-confidence, by way of self-efficacy, affects your performance and how satisfied you are with the choices you make, the effort you put in, how you feel, and how long you persist when confronted with an obstacle.
Select an area of your personal or professional life where you would like to challenge yourself, change, fix, repair, improve etc. and measure your own perceived self-efficacy using the steps outlined in the How to Build a Self-Efficacy Scale above.

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