I’m going to introduce to you a fundamentally different concept with a slightly different name. That concept was self-esteem. The concept I want you to get is self-efficacy. While it sounds the same, it is quite different than self-esteem.
Self-efficacy is looking for evidence in your past. It’s asking yourself, “What have I done in my life that I can transfer that learning to here? What have I done in the past where I’ve succeeded, where I’ve failed, that I can learn and apply to this situation now?” Self-efficacy, not self-esteem, is what will make you successful and resilient.
Self-efficacy is when a person looks at their history and their experience and says, “I’m in the middle of a pickle now. I’m in a hard spot. What did I do in the past? What evidence do I have from the past, my past experience, my past successes, that I can apply to this experience now that makes me believe that I can be successful?” It’s fundamentally different.
Self-esteem, on the other hand, is like clicking your heels together and saying, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” It’s wishful thinking.
Self-efficacy is saying “Okay. I’ve been broke before. So how did I solve the problem? I ate pork’n’beans a lot. I don’t want to do that again, but I can do it again.”
Self-esteem says, “I cannot be broke anymore. I’m good enough to make money. I deserve money.”
Self-efficacy says, “How do I solve this problem with the evidence from my life?” Do you remember my post about SERE training? SERE training does this: When they are in the middle of being tortured, they say, “Oh yeah. I’ve been through this before. I can last a little bit longer. I know where I broke down before, maybe this time I can last a little longer.” We teach them self-efficacy by this kind of training. Nobody likes it at the time, but it makes him or her better.