What if success relied, first and foremost, on our beliefs and not on our true ability? In the opinion of some, self-efficacy (SE) determines success. This concept refers to a person’s beliefs about their ability to act in order to accomplish certain goals. This aspect of self-esteem is an important basis for motivation to act and for perseverance in accomplishing goals, since degree of effort is a function of anticipated results. In fact, if, from the outset, I do not believe that I am not intelligent enough to learn about information technology, I will not take action nor will I invest a significant amount of time in it, and, as it turns out, I will not be able to improve myself.

People with high levels of self-efficacy will, for example, tend to become engaged in activities for improving their financial health since they believe they are able to achieve results and exert power over their lives. Inversely, people who have low levels of self-efficacy will be more likely to feel disadvantaged and powerless. As a result, they will not change their behaviours or ask for advice and, at the end of the line, cannot obtain the positive results they desire.

Concretely speaking, how can self-efficacy be developed?

Personal experience, whether of success or failure, certainly has the greatest effect on self-efficacy. On the one hand, success increases the sense of being capable and effective, and on the other hand, failure decreases it. Therefore, as soon as possible, make a list of all your successes, large and small. This will help you regain confidence.

Future success
Set realistic goals for yourself and take time to fully savour the small successes that will assuredly follow. In order to have the most possible luck on your side, position yourself in order to be aware of the effect these small successes have on your developing confidence.

Observation of others
Watching others succeed in accomplishing goals they have set for themselves increases your own sense of being able to accomplish goals also. Spend time with people who have succeeded in what you want to do, ask them to explain how they did it, and, at the same time, ask them to help you do the same.

Social persuasion
This is the encouragement you receive or the actions that are likely to discourage you. In fact, it’s generally easier to decrease a person’s sense of self-efficacy than it is to improve it. Know how to surround yourself with people who believe in you and keep your distance from those who attempt to discourage or diminish you.

Physiological and emotional factors
A great many people also rely in part on their emotional and physiological states to assess their capacity. They interpret their stress and tension reactions as signs of vulnerability. Nevertheless, just because you are anxious about a situation does not mean you will not succeed. The simple fact of practicing, surrounding yourself with positive support and trusting yourself a bit more should have a significant effect on the doubts that are assailing you.

However, beware of excess. When the sense of self-efficacy is significantly higher than your real capacity, in other words when people overestimate their abilities, this can lead to harmful consequences and cause real damage, up to and including failure. On the other hand, if their sense of self-efficacy is lower than their capacity, people may have a hard time developing their full potential, improving their skills and enjoying life to its fullest.

Research shows that the optimal level of self-efficacy is slightly above actual capacity, which encourages people to take on difficult tasks and acquire experience.

As a general rule, a sense of self-efficacy leads to greater effort and perseverance. Lower self-efficacy can also encourage effective preparation, leading to more learning for skills improvement, and greater self-efficacy can effectively block on the preparation process. However, research indicates that people with a greater sense of self-efficacy tend to better assess situations overall in order to select the methods that are most likely to help them succeed.