Sunday 26 September 2021


“To this day, even when I hear about problems, as you’ve probably noticed, I tend to call them challenges. I don’t dwell on them, and I immediately focus on how I can convert the challenge into an opportunity.” — Tony Robbins.

Albert Bandura first coined the concept, “Self-Efficacy,” in 1977. It is “the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” It is a person's belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Self-efficacy is the belief that we can achieve influence over the conditions that affect our lives. 

It is the belief in our own ability to succeed in achieving a goal - having the confidence to know we can do whatever we set our mind to by managing how we think, feel, and behave. It is the fuel that drives change. Doesn't that sound rather familiar? Remember the famously repeated quote by Henry Ford, 
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” 
I like the fuller version even better. He said, 
“You must never, even for a second, let yourself think that you can fail.” 
He continues, 
“Our first principle is that failure is impossible. You may not get what you’re trying to do right the first time or the second time or the tenth time or the 100th time, but if you shut out of your mind the possibility of being licked, then you are bound to win.”
A similar line of thought was toed, in 1905, by Superintendent John Herbert Phillips in a set of speeches delivered to High School students in Alabama. This was included in a speech titled “Knowledge and Power.” He said,
“Have faith in yourself; develop confidence in your own power, reliance upon your own resources. If you believe you can, you will; if you think you can’t, you will fail. There is much truth in the old Latin motto: “Possunt quia posse videntur.” They can because they think they can.”
Mahatma Gandhi wraps these up by saying,
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thought becomes YOUR WORDS.
Keep your words positive because your words become YOUR BEHAVIOR.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes YOUR HABITS.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become YOUR VALUES.
Keep your values positive because your values become YOUR DESTINY.”
Those men surely understood the power and purpose of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy plays a role in how we think, how we act, and how we feel about our place in the world. It determines what goals we choose to pursue, how we go about accomplishing those goals, and how we reflect upon our own performance. Reframing is one of the ways top athletes and performances exploit this concept. 

They reframe the challenges they come against in such a way as to boost their self-efficacy. They tell themselves the stories that empower them, rather than surrender to the story the challenge is shouting at them. More like the same techniques offered in Cognitive-behavioral therapies. You might not be able to stop the bird from flying over your head. You can prevent it from building a nest on your head.

St. Akin de Great.


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