Confidence is king when it comes to our chances for life success, as the more confident we are, the more likely we will experience good fortune. Confidence isn’t anything magical, but when we are confident, we benefit from better focus, greater motivation, and stronger resiliency. Additionally, we take on an attitude of optimism, and we challenge ourselves to push through to the finish until we experience the results we want. When we have very little confidence, the exact opposite occurs — we fill our minds with self-doubt, give up on things prematurely, and ultimately end up with less than desirable results.
Self-efficacy originates from social cognitive theory and is defined as a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation. When we have a high degree of self-efficacy, or confidence in our ability to succeed, we work from the assumption that we can and will be successful at the task. Believing that we can do something allows our minds and body to synchronize, enabling human arousal to become facilitative energy, rather than debilitating anxiety. When we are confident, we also tend to pay more attention to positive cues (i.e. just missing that shot, but happy that we were close and encouraged to shoot again) rather than negative cues (i.e. just missing that shot, but using the miss as proof that you will never be any good).
Self-efficacy increases as we experience greater proficiency, and the cycle continues. Yes, it really does matter that you believe in yourself, and when you do, you tend to “play to win” instead of “playing to avoid losing.”
There are a number of ways you can increase your self-confidence, thereby providing for the best chance of proficiency and success. Check out the following ideas to learn more:
- Set goals. One of the easiest ways to boost self-confidence is to set daily, realistic goals. As you reach each goal, continue developing more challenging future goals and track your progress. Goal setting allows us to witness firsthand how our efforts lead to results, and these results help us develop confidence to continue working hard for even bigger goals in the future.
- Develop a “pre-game” routine. You don’t have to be an athlete to develop a pre-game routine, as anyone can establish a “pre-game” as it applies to work, school, or any other activity. Take time before your event to collect your thoughts, breathe, and use music and/or imagery to help focus on the upcoming task. By controlling your thoughts, you will gain poise and composure to help increase confidence, and provide for better likely outcomes.
- Take control of situations. Rather than simply reacting to situations, become proactive with your thinking, emotions, and behaviors so that you feel in control. When we feel like we control life situations, our stress level reduces, allowing us better focus and greater likelihood for success.
- Think through hurdles and develop success plans. The idea behind stress inoculation is that by preparing for stressful situations we increase our chances for less stress and better outcomes. Like the old saying goes, if you ask the right questions you will come up with the right answers. Problem-solving leads to increased confidence, which in turn contributes to faster skill acquisition and mastery.
- Is it really a big deal? At the end of the day the vast majority of life situations we find ourselves in are not life or death — although at the time of the challenge we sometimes feel that way. Find comfort knowing that in life you win some and lose some, and that what really matters is your happiness, health, and the great people around you who love you regardless of the outcome of a game.
There is a big difference between “I think I can” versus “I don’t think I can,” and the difference goes far beyond words. When we truly believe we have the mindset and skills needed to be successful, it is this confidence that we experience that culls our energy and mobilizes our efforts toward future success. Countless psychology studies have shown us that confidence can play a big part in the likelihood that you will enjoy success over failure, making it important to find ways to improve your confidence on a daily basis.