What is Self-Efficacy?
Excerpted from the blog entry:
"For the aspiring self-quantifier, the history of self-efficacy research is full of promising hints. Once the notion of self-efficacy has been separated from the more general concept of self-esteem, it's easier to notice specific areas where low self-efficacy may interfere with learning or achievement. Low self-efficacy leads to avoidance behavior. We don't try things we believe we can't do. In Bandura's original paper, he points to research showing that this avoidance behavior can persist even when there is no conscious anxiety, no negative emotional arousal. We simply skirt the issue. Perhaps we even convince ourselves that it is not necessary, or a waste of time. Ingrained habits of avoidance can become nearly invisible to our conscious reflection, due to how effectively they guard us from the bad consequences we believe will result from failure."
Though I had heard the term "self-efficacy" before, I'd never familiarized myself with it's definition.
The Wikipedia article has some good information. One of the tidbits is that encouragement and discouragement from social peers have noticeable effects on someone's self-efficacy. It goes on to mention that discouragement has a greater impact.
So beyond attempting to become more aware of my own self-efficacy in various areas in my life, I will try and remember to take care when offering someone criticism or advice. I'd much rather increase my friends and family's self-efficacy rather than lower it.