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What Is Self Efficacy?

Self-efficacy is a psychological theory that recognizes the power a person’s subjective beliefs and thoughts have over their life events and their ultimate destiny.

Think of the theory of self-efficacy as a tool for building confidence and self esteem. As you’ll see, our thoughts are the foundation of all of our experiences. And consciously controlling our thoughts is the easiest way of gaining self confidence and overcoming fear. 

Albert Bandura And The Self Efficacy Concept

The concept was developed by Canadian psychologist, Albert Bandura. According to Bandura, it is a person’s belief in their ability to perform that determines how well they do in a given situation.

What is self efficacy in relation to positive thinking? In general, people who have high levels of efficacy believe they are in control of their lives and their destiny, whereas people with low levels believe control lies outside their power.

Bandura’s theory states that a person’s beliefs about their ability will then determine their thoughts, feelings and actions.

  • Someone who believes they will perform well at a task approaches it as a challenge to be mastered.
  • This attitude shapes their behavior. It causes them to act with a strong degree of commitment to their goal. If they experience failure, they are more likely than someone with a low level of efficacy to see this as a mere setback.
  • Such an outlook means the person is more likely to experience personal accomplishment and is less prone to developing depression.

On the contrary, a person with low efficacy is likely to view challenges as threats to be avoided.

  • If they have to face a challenging task, they approach it through the lens of their personal deficiencies.
  • They experience high degrees of stress as they anticipate obstacles and eventual failure. And when they finally do experience the failure they feared but anticipated, it takes them longer to recover faith in themselves.

How Do We Develop Beliefs About Our Efficacy?

Bandura also explains how a person’s beliefs about their efficacy are developed. He believes the most effective way of creating a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences. This explains why people who have been able to produce some success in their lives can keep on repeating it. They know the formula, and how to impact their circumstances to cause success over and over again.  

Implications of The Theory Of Self Efficacy

The theory of self-efficacy is more evidence that we all operate in accordance with our dominant beliefs about ourselves and our world.

It’s liberating to realize that any evidence of lack in your life indicates a limited belief is in operation and sabotaging your success. By developing awareness of this belief, it loses its power to thwart your success.

Building confidence and self esteem is always possible, no matter how much you’re struggling right now. Begin my focusing on the quality of your thinking and making a concerted effort to only allow positive, life-affirming thoughts to occupy your mind.


I subscribe to the age-old philosophy that first you have to BE before you can DO and HAVE what you want. I created this site to give readers practical and motivational success tips! In every post you will find simple success principles that will cause you to succeed.

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