Psychological Self-Help

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in our ability to control or change a certain situation come from? (1)
From relevant success experiences. (2) From observing others handle
the situation successfully. (3) From being persuaded that we can do it.
(4) From perceiving our physiological state as being prepared for the
task at hand. Self-efficacy is discussed at length in method #9 in
chapter 14. 
Bandura contends that self-efficacy is a major underlying factor
explaining the effectiveness of all therapies. That is, behavior or
cognitive therapy (or a self-help method) works to the extent you
believe you can use it to change. There is, in fact, a high correlation
between expectations and one's performance. That doesn't prove one
causes the other, however. Perhaps we just know our abilities pretty
well. Nevertheless, as a theory, it suggests a simple approach:
increase your positive expectations in order to improve your
performance. It is noteworthy that Norman Vincent Peale's famous
book, The Power of Positive Thinking, begins with these words:
"Believe in your self!" And 100 years ago William James wrote: "Our
belief...insures the successful outcome...." 
The previous method #13 focuses on the removal of certain
destructive parts of the self. This method focuses on strengthening the
positive self-expectations parts of the self. 
To improve performance by realistically increasing one's
STEP ONE: Find ways to increase your faith in your ability to
change things.
Explore the ways listed in "General idea" above. (1) Nothing works
like success to increase our confidence. Actual experience is much
more convincing than imaginary experience. Try to insure success by
taking on easy tasks first and then working up to harder assignments.
Or, start by mentally rehearsing, role playing with a friend, and
practicing (see chapter 13). (2) By observing others accomplish some
task, we learn how to do it and we become convinced that we too can
do it (if they are similar to us). (3) Our expectations are open to
persuasion. Others can increase our confidence; we can talk ourselves
into believing in ourselves. Reading about successful people builds our
hope. The popular "Positive Mental Attitude," how-to-be-successful,
and inspirational religious books may help (see chapter. 4). By their
nature, most self-help books are encouraging. (4) Believing that we
are physically ready to achieve some goal increases our confidence. 
STEP TWO: Build confidence and increase your skills at the same
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