What is Self-Efficacy?

To be efficacious (in the basic, dictionary sense) is to be capable of producing a desired result.  With respect to our personal sense of worth, self-efficacy is confidence in our ability to learn what we need to learn and do what we need to do in order to achieve our goals.

It does not require omniscience or omnipotence; rather, self-efficacy requires confidence in the functioning of our minds– in our ability to think, understand, learn, choose and make decisions.  It is not the conviction that we can never make an error; it is the conviction that we can correct our errors.  Self-efficacy is trust in our mental processes and abilities.

Self-efficacious people enjoy a sense of control over their lives that is often associated with psychological well-being.  They are not passive spectators of their lives but active participants, charting a course of their choosing.

Self-efficacy runs deeper than confidence in our pre-existing knowledge and skills, based on past successes and accomplishments (although it is clearly nurtured by them).  It is confidence in our ability to think and acquire whatever knowledge or skills we need to achieve successes.

In short, self-efficacy is the confidence in one’s ability to cope with and overcome the basic challenges of life.