Although researchers need to differentiate expectations (faith or
confidence or placebo) from ability (knowledge or skill or motivation),
in everyday life they are usually clumped together. Unrealistically high
expectations can't last long. One way of feeling competent is to be
competent. Learn the skills you need and practice, practice, practice.
And let the confidence grow too. The self-efficacy will motivate you to
try and persevere, whereas before you hesitated and gave up.
STEP THREE: Try again with more self-confidence.
The proof is in the pudding.
Common problems with the method
As implied above, if one lacks talent, a positive expectation is of
little value if that talent is required. On the other hand, if one has the
necessary skills, then self-confidence will encourage their use until
success is achieved.
Effectiveness, advantages and dangers
Except for the well documented relationship between expectation
and performance, there is very little knowledge, as yet, about how to
change self-efficacy or about how powerful a factor it is. A problem is
separating (1) the actual effectiveness of a self-help method from the
impact of (2) simply having faith in an ineffective self-help method and
(3) having faith that I, as a self-helper, have special aptitude in this
area that will make me especially effective. (In medicine, the effect of
the drug has to be separated from the patient's improvement based on
believing an inert placebo pill will help.) Placebos in medicine are fairly
effective. In self-help, probably all three factors are significant factors.
If any simple method can increase the effort we will exert, it is
valuable. There are no dangers.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of
behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.
Increase intrinsic satisfaction in the activity
There are many important activities that could be pleasurable but
aren't: school, much of our work, child care, caring for others, etc. We
are born curious and excited about learning. We want to be and feel
competent. Yet, we get bored with school. Why? We have jobs that
provide a great service to others (making a shirt or car). Yet, we may
hate the work. Why? We like to give to others. Yet, paying taxes to
provide schools, medical care, help to the old, the poor, the