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Finding Your Confidence

Updated: May 8, 2021

"Gimme di one drop beat and a mic" Chronixx, Reggae Artiste

Chronixx knew what he needed, "di one drop beat and a mic," and the belief he can be successful.

So, you are not Chronixx, and you are still exploring. Belief in your capability is empowering. When you find yourself in situations where you lack influence over what happens, you can likely become apprehensive. While you may not always control outcomes, you can manage your effort. If you can influence your actions and reduce unpleasant experiences, you may be incentivized to pursue your goals. As you work towards your goals, remember success can be achieved in increments.

What gives you inspiration?

What do you need to make your mark?

What if you are the one blocking your progress?

Do you believe in yourself and your ability to succeed? Indeed, I cannot answer this question for you. For that matter, no one can answer this question for you. One thing is sure your sense of self and mindset is critical to your success, not just hard work. Commitment to achieving your goals begins with you and your ability to hold yourself accountable. If you cannot control yourself, who can do it for you without giving them an attitude?

Tip: Develop an awareness of your thought patterns and how they hinder or support your progress. Do you believe your problem is unchangeable, or do you think your situation can change?

In social cognitive theory, Albert Bandura proposed the concept of self-efficacy. He describes perceived self-efficacy as “beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments.” At some points in our lives, it's difficult to believe in our skills, and our judgment can limit our efforts to persevere. Paulo Freire challenges us to examine if our thinking has fixed themes (rigid) or generative themes (flexible). The thought, you are the one preventing your success with your thoughts is difficult to accept. Especially when you want to find something or someone outside of yourself to hold responsible. I'm not suggesting there aren't potential barriers in your path, but the human spirit is resilient.

No occasion is too big if you are willing to prepare yourself. Preparation begins with you and your commitment to succeed. Be consistent with your work ethic.

Tip: Enthusiasm makes a difference.

So, I mentioned self-efficacy earlier. If you are asking, how do I develop my self-efficacy? Thank you for asking that question. There are four ways Bandura proposed we can build our self-efficacy.

  1. Mastery experiences are an authentic means of developing your self-efficacy. The word mastery suggests the development of proficiency in performing a specific task. The big idea here is to begin learning necessary skills and gradually increase the level of difficulty. As you master each step, you are more incentivized to attempt the next step. The evidence of previous success gives you belief. Therefore, if you can break things down into manageable parts, it becomes easier to master. As you continue to build your self-efficacy, it is noteworthy, the skill you are attempting to master must have an appropriate level of difficulty.

  2. Vicarious experiences, this source of self-efficacy develops from observing someone skilled perform a task. You reproduce the behavior of the model. The model may be a peer. In situations where your peer is the model, you may convince yourself, "if John Brown can do it, so can I." If you grew up in the '90s and loved basketball, you likely wanted to "be like Mike," and you would try to reproduce some of his moves on the basketball court.

  3. Social persuasion is the appropriate and timely use of feedback about performance. Persuading is not to "gas" you up but a mix of instruction and correction while performing a skill. Social convincing can be self-affirming and help you understand how you are performing. The better you perform, the more you believe in your ability to succeed. The more belief in your capability, the more likely you are to attempt challenging tasks. The person doing the persuading can be your parents, teachers, peers, and mentors. For example, I can hear one of my peers, Trooper, "ok," what's the next step. Here Trooper is issuing an appropriate challenge to persevere.

  4. Emotional and physiological states, your feelings about your performance may affect your self-efficacy. Nervousness, anxiety, and stress can affect your performance. Your self-efficacy works well if you learn to self-regulate your emotions and physiological states. Therefore, mastering the skill will give you the belief you can competently perform under most conditions.

Tip: Stop thinking negatively and start believing in your ability to succeed.

Stop throwing your ideas on the scrap heap because you think they are not good enough. If the project was worth spending time thinking about, then it's worthy of being shared. Feedback of any kind can be interpreted as instructive. The plan doesn't have to be great at first, but it can be viewed as a work in progress. First drafts, generally, need work to become the finished article. Even after the plan is implemented, you may have to pivot to make improvements to the proposal.

Tip: Brainstorm on paper using a mind-map to connect the different parts of your idea.

Tip: Set yourself attainable goals that keep you motivated as you work toward your utlimate goals.

Be intentional about what you want. Self-efficacy is built on mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and emotional and physiological states. Thinking about the sources of self-efficacy is a reminder thought needs action. The answers to the many questions I've posted are not always apparent. The answers to these questions may require explorations of the parts of yourself you are unsure about. Interface with the world with an open mind. If you are adamant that no one should place you in a box, why do you put yourself in one?

Stay Naturally Curious


Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. W. H. Freeman and Company.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.

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