So, what is self-efficacy and how is it different from self-esteem, or self-confidence? The terms self-efficacy and self-confidence have been used interchangeably for years. Even though their meanings are slightly different in my understanding.
For simplicity, my definitions of the three are…
Self esteem is how you think about yourself. For example, how ‘worthy’ you think you are as a person. Self-confidence is your belief in your likelihood of succeeding generally. A trust that you’ll always have the resources you need. And self-efficacy, refers to your beliefs about your ability to perform specific tasks. And includes, how difficult the task is, what experience you have with similar tasks, etc.
Time to collect some tools
So, if you want to change your state, to something more effective/creative/productive, etc., then you’ll need to make certain changes to your body and mind.
The single most important thing you can do, is to change what you focus on. Without correct focus, everything else is only partially effective.
Let’s use as an example, that you want to write a short story. You’ve been thinking about it for ages, but just couldn’t get your creative juices flowing.
One of the most powerful things to do, is ‘re-experience’ a time when you were creative in the past. It doesn’t have to be about writing though. You’re looking for creativity, not writing skills. The memory you use, could be from when you took a drawing class in college. Or, when you created a new recipe in your kitchen. Anything where you had to use your creativity.
Okay, so once you’ve got your memory, close your eyes. Actually picture the situation in your minds-eye. Imagine that situation as if you were there again. See what you saw, hear what you heard and smell any smells related to that experience.
Make the memory as vivid as possible and actually experience the memory as if it was happening now. Once you’ve got the emotions back in your mind, you can bring that motivation and experience back to the present and use it to drive you again.
If you’d like to know how to store those feelings long term and be able to ‘fire’ them whenever you like, I talk about that technique in this post. There’s also a podcast episode that talks about it. You’ll find that here.
Obviously, creative writing isn’t something that many people will want help with. But that same technique can apply to anything you want to do.
So, what are some of the other options available?
Well, no matter what the task or situation, there are some general things you can do to help.
Another option, although usually less effective, would be to simply move your body. By changing your posture, or your breathing, you shift your emotions.
Another helpful trick is to ‘smile’. What’s happening in your body, will happen in your mind. There’s a very good article on the Psychology Today website that highlights the benefits.
And finally, you can change your internal dialogue, the things you say to yourself (self-talk). If you’ve got a criticizing voice in you head, telling you things are never going to work out. Then, try changing the pitch of the voice, or the speed. If the voice sounds silly, or stupid, what it’s saying will sound silly, or stupid.
Alternatively, you could imagine the voice coming from your rear! See how convincing it is then 😉
The best way to improve your self talk, is to ask a better question. Instead of asking “why does this always happen to me?“, ask “what can I learn from this that will benefit me when I try again?“, or instead of “Why do I always have to do this?“, ask “How can I do this and make it fun?”
Small changes can make a huge difference. Try it out and see the results you’re capable of when you do.
Have you got any tips that help change your state and put you in a more productive mood? Let me know in the comments.