Exploring Possibilities: Four Keys For Self-Development

Exploring Possibilities: Four Keys For Self-Development

How about, if I start today’s article with a statement... “there are no successful people”. Most of you will immediately raise your eyebrows. With a big question mark, most of the readers will immediately doubt the statement. Rightly so, as there are examples of so many successful people all across. People have acquired success in science, leadership, sports, arts, academics, so on and so forth. Still I will maintain the same “there are no successful people”, but “there are successful habits”.

All those people, who are successful have certain successful habits which work as inner turbines to propel the power for the activities, which bring success in the lives of those people. Most of us get overwhelmed by the achievement, and in the process miss upon contributing factors. Just like a delicious dish, success is an amalgamation of some ingredients in the right proportion, subjected to the right process.

To understand these success habits, Canadian-American psychologist Albert Bandura introduced a concept of self-efficacy. It refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments.

We all have the innate quality to enhance our self-efficacy, but we have locked that innate quality either by lack of cognizance or due to the belief that I know it all. Today, I will introduce my readers to the four keys, through which they can unlock this lock of self-efficacy.

These keys are

1. 2. 3. 4.

Performance outcomes Vicarious Experiences Social Persuasion Physiological arousal

Let us understand each one of them ...

1. Performance Outcomes: It refers to personal assessment information that is based on an individual’s accomplishments. Previous successes raise mastery expectations, while repeated failures lower them. Most of us know how to drive a car. Let me take you to the journey of acquiring the mastery in driving a car. Initially it was conscious incompetence, when you were hesitant and fearful in releasing the clutch and pressing the accelerator. But after a period of time you gain unconscious competence. Now you drive your car nonchalantly.

But for those, who had an initial failure or a mishap, it takes longer to learn driving or even if they learn, the fear looms large on them. So, the life of each of us is a mix of success and failure. Let us create a ledger of success and failure, and identify the reasons of success/failure. We will have our own performance outcomes as our guide to our self-development.

2. Vicarious Experience: Refers to the experiences gained by observing others perform activities successfully. This is often referred to as modeling, and it can generate expectations in observers that they can improve their performance by learning from what they have observed. Once a Journalist asked cricketers like Yuvraj, Gautam Gambhr, Sehwag, Virat, as to who has inspired them to success in cricket? Before the blink of an eye they said Sachin Tendulkar. What happens when one Niraj Chopra wins a Gold Medal in the Olympics?

All other national athletes get inspired. What happens when Indira Nooyi or Sundar Pichai become global corporate leaders? Other corporate leaders get inspired and learn to grow. This is called vicarious experiences. When a success of someone similar or close, inspires us and says, if he can do this why can't we? Then we start learning new ways with the right mindset.

3. Social Persuasion: Refers to activities where people are led, through suggestion, into believing that they can cope successfully with specific tasks. Coaching and giving evaluative feedback on performance are common types of social persuasion. There couldn’t be a better example of this than Bhagwat Gita. We all know Arjun’s mindset at the start of the battle of Mahabharat. It was only the persuasion by an expert in the form of Lord Krishna that led the transformation of Arjun from a doubtful disciple to a valiant warrior. So friends, get a genuine expert/coach who can act as a catalyst to your success.

4. Physiological Arousal: Refers to the individual’s physiological or emotional state that influences self-efficacy judgments concerning specific tasks. Emotional reactions to such tasks (e.g., anxiety) can lead to negative judgments of one’s ability to complete the tasks. You all must be knowing Martina Navrtilova, the famous legendary women tennis player. She won her last grand slam at the age of 44. A journalist asked her, as to how she could still hit the ball so hard even at this age. She said that the ball and the racket don’t know my age. This is also called the internal dialogue or emotional agility. Our internal dialogues give us the right physiology to head towards success.

So ladies and gentlemen, now since you are introduced to the four keys to self- efficacy, go ahead unlock it and explore possibilities.....

(The author is a Certified Designed Thinking Master practitioner and Clifton Certified Strength Finder Coach, Corporate Trainer and a Leadership coach. He is based in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.)

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