The Power of Believing in Yourself
8 insights on the psychology of self-efficacy.

The Power of Believing in Yourself
8 insights on the psychology of self-efficacy.

It’s hard (if not impossible) to be happy and/or successful if you’re constantly doubting yourself.

Admittedly, we all have doubts sometimes but self-belief is possible and crucial for living a good life.

And the good news is there are things you can learn from the science of psychology to improve the extent to which you believe in yourself.

Check these tips out from Marianna Pogosyan via Psychology Today


  • Self-efficacy is the confidence we have in our abilities in specific life domains.
  • Finely-grained self-efficacy beliefs are more useful in predicting outcomes than global self-confidence measures.
  • Self-efficacy is a key ingredient of self-regulation and achieving our goals.

Years ago, right before starting on a big new project, I bought a framed note that spelled with golden letters:

She believed she could so she did.

I didn’t know who she was and what she did, but somehow, the words offered encouragement for my own undertaking.

The contract that humans draft with their loftiest dreams is surprisingly straightforward. Yes, we need skills to accomplish our goals. Yes, we need effort, strategy, resources, creativity, character, and even luck. But before we set the world in motion, we need the blessing of an inner ally, who, whether with a coy wink or a full-blown orchestra, makes us believe that we can.

This confidence in our abilities in specific life domains is known as self-efficacy. After studying self-efficacy for decades, psychologist James Maddux concluded that believing that we can accomplish what we want to accomplish is one of the most important ingredients for success. Indeed, countless research studies have shown that having high self-efficacy can help us pursue our goals, cope effectively with stress, engage in health-promoting behaviors, and have better psychological well-being.

Why do our thoughts and convictions have such a consequential hold on us? Is it the courage they impart to dream in the first place? Is it the resolve they extend when we stumble? Or is it because when we believe in ourselves, we can “risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit,” as poet E.E. Cummings writes.

Here are 8 insights from Maddux on the key role self-efficacy plays in our lives.

Self-efficacy can be more adaptive than self-confidence

Traditionally, psychologists have defined and measured self-confidence as a global construct that is consistent over time and across situations. It’s almost like a personality trait that people tend to have to varying degrees. The trouble with thinking of ourselves in global terms, such as having high or low self-confidence, is that it’s very easy to mis-predict outcomes.

Research shows that when it comes to our ability to predict behavior, situation-specific measures (i.e., self-efficacy beliefs) outperform global measures such as self-confidence. Thus, if you are considering setting a new goal, you’ll be better off breaking down your general self-confidence into components and thinking about your abilities in various specific situations. This is particularly important for people with low self-confidence, which can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, in cognitive behavioral therapy, the client who complains of low self-confidence is invited to explore some areas in life where they actually do well. This exercise can help individuals think about their particular competencies in various situations that they feel good about and move away from self-defeating thinking patterns…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE