Understanding Self-Efficacy to Become Unstoppable

Life is filled with challenges and how you deal with them depends on your beliefs about yourself. Do you rise up and face your challenges head on or do you give up and shy away? Do you look at challenges with confidence, believing you can overcome them or do you doubt your abilities to rise to the occasion?

Self efficacy, or your belief in your abilities to succeed in specific situations, plays a huge role in whether or not you reach your goals in life. Self efficacy not only promotes higher self-esteem, but it will drive you to achieve your goals and overcome life’s challenges.

Let’s learn all about self efficacy and what drives it so you can build your confidence, reach your goals, and Become Unstoppable.

What is Self-Efficacy?

Remember the children’s story The Little Engine That Could, in which the main character defied impossible odds simply by saying “I think I can, I think I can?” This little engine might have been onto something. Our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves have a profound impact on our actual capabilities. And it’s not just fiction that’s backing up this idea.

Self efficacy was introduced by renowned psychologist Albert Bandura in 1977. It is defined as “one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task.” Forty years later, self-efficacy has become one of the most studied topics in modern psychology. Bandura proposed that personal efficacy be measured by a self-efficacy scale, which many psychologists still use today.

The Self-Efficacy Theory

The Self-Efficacy Theory refers to the research conducted by Bandura to categorize one's experience and locus of control over a situation and ultimately their success in life. Bandura identified four types of sources that contribute to self efficacy.

Mastery Experiences

Bandura identified master experiences as the most prominent contributor of self-efficacy. Mastery experiences pertain to situations in which someone successfully masters a task or achieves a goal, creating the knowledge that success is within their locus of control. For example, a Gloveworx Contender might finally complete a combo without having to pause and think of the steps.

Vicarious Experiences

Vicarious experiences come through witnessing someone else's experiences, especially those we view as mentors, like a coach. According to Bandura and the Self-Efficacy Theory, witnessing someone else's success at mastering a task contributes to our perceived sense of potential in completing that task ourselves. That's one of the many reasons that having positive social interactions surrounding a shared task is ideal for success, such as a group training session.

Verbal Persuasion

Bandura identified verbal persuasion as the third contributor to self-efficacy. The idea behind the theory is that having verbal support from a role model can influence our cognitive functions and improve help us improve our personal efficacy. For example, a teacher telling a student that they believe the student is capable of academic achievement can inspire them to improve their performance by prioritizing their learning. In a coaching scenario, having a coach tell you that you can dig deep and get this done can have a similar effect.

Physiological and Emotional States

Have you ever had one of those days where you're feeling really good and strong? You kill your exercise performance and feel as though you can accomplish anything? What about those days when you feel really low and experience depressive symptoms? Physical activities become monumental tasks and coping is a challenge.

How you feel can impact your personal efficacy. Whether you're dealing with external factors or just having a bad day, your physiological and emotional state influence your perceived locus of control over your situation.

Though it may sound like a small concept, self-efficacy affects every area of life’s endeavors. Everyone has things they need to improve or work on, but it’s hard to improve if you don’t believe you can. That’s why self-efficacy is, and will always be, in high demand. Those internal beliefs will determine how much you grow and accomplish.

Why Your Thoughts Matter

Self-efficacy is a form of positive thinking, which is linked to better physical and mental health, lower rates of stress and depression, and better coping skills in times of hardship. Positive emotions have also been shown to broaden your skill set and open your mind to more possibilities.

It makes sense then, that self-efficacy positively impacts all areas of your life from psychological states to behavior to motivation and capability. It plays a major role in how people approach challenges, goals, and tasks.

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.
  • Set higher goals and are more likely to stay committed to those goals.
  • Heighten and sustain their performance efforts in the face of failure.
  • Attribute failure to a lack of skills that can be acquired rather than an inability.
  • Are more resilient and quickly bounce back from failures and setbacks.

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Shy away from difficult tasks and perceive them as threats.
  • Have lower aspirations and a weak commitment to goals.
  • Dwell on personal deficiencies when faced with difficult tasks.
  • Give up quickly in the face of challenges.

It’s easy to see why self-efficacy and positive thinking are so important to our everyday lives. A person’s beliefs don’t just determine their level of confidence; it determines how people think, feel, motivate themselves, and behave. Your beliefs even have an impact on your physical health! The weaker your self-efficacy, the higher your chances of stress and depression. The stronger your self-efficacy, the more likely you are to succeed and Become Unstoppable.

Five Ways to Increase Self-Efficacy

Knowing how incredible self-efficacy is, the next step is learning how to build it within ourselves. Consider using a self-efficacy scale to conduct a study of yourself and build awareness about your internal locus of control. Here are five ways to develop self-efficacy:

1. Celebrate Every Victory (No Matter How Small)

One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. Don’t wait until you’ve reached your big end-goal to celebrate your success. Success is a series of small wins, so celebrate all of your accomplishments along the way to boost your sense of self-efficacy.

Don’t be afraid to drum up your past successes as well. Reminisce about moments when you accomplished tasks you didn’t think you’d achieve. Stay there and reflect for a while. What did you accomplish? How did you accomplish those tasks? What can you do to channel all of those past successes to achieve future goals? What do these accomplishments say about your character and ability?

2. Observe Other’s Success

Observing the success of others is a great way to build your self-efficacy. Think about how you feel after watching a motivational video or listening to an incredible success story such as that of Muhammad Ali. It doesn’t have to be someone famous. It can be anyone who’s relatable and who has achieved a certain level of success that you aspire to. There’s something about seeing it done in real time, by a real person, that boosts your confidence in yourself.

3. Tame Self-Doubt

Having a strong sense of self-efficacy doesn’t mean you will never experience doubt. Self-defeating thoughts are inevitable, and in fact, are a part of the process. The trick is not to let those feelings overtake your belief in yourself. When negative thoughts arise, recognize them, accept them, and move on.

4. Be Coachable

Coachability is an important characteristic that will help drum up higher levels of self-efficacy. Coachability is all about using feedback and constructive criticism to your advantage, rather than your downfall.

In working with a professional or an expert, you will learn how to grow and build new skills. You’ll learn to utilize your strengths while hashing out your weak areas. Being coachable will boost your confidence and teach you how to navigate negative thoughts and use them to grow, rather than internalize them. This all leads to stronger self-efficacy.

5. Learn From Your Mistakes

When you internalize every mistake, you put a huge damper on your self-efficacy beliefs. Mistakes don’t make you weak; they make you human! Rather than expecting perfection from yourself, acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

Boxing is an excellent way to become more coachable and increase your sense of self-efficacy. Talk with one of our coaches about booking a session today!