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If at First You Don't Succeed, You're in Excellent Company -
April 29, 2008 WSJ article by Melinda Beck about
"self-efficacy" that allows some people to rebound from defeats and go
onto greatness while others throw int he towel.

Self-efficacy differs from self-esteem in that it's a judgment of specific capabilities rather than a general feeling of self-worth. "It's easy to have high self-esteem -- just aim low," says Prof. Bandura, who is still teaching at Stanford at age 82. On the other hand, he notes, there are people with high self-efficacy who "drive themselves hard but have low self-esteem because their performance always falls short of their high standards."

Still, such people succeed because they believe that persistent effort will let them succeed. In fact, if success comes too easily, some people never master the ability to learn from criticism. "People need to learn how to manage failure so it's informational and not demoralizing,".....In technology, rejection is the rule rather than the exception, Prof. Bandura says. He points out that one of the original Warner Brothers said of sound films, "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were rebuffed by Atari Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. when they tried to sell an early Apple computer. And sometimes genius itself needs time. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. ("I didn't fail 1,000 times," he told a reporter. "The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.")...Where does such determination come from? In some cases it's inborn optimism -- akin to the kind of resilience that enables some children to emerge unscathed from extreme poverty, tragedy or abuse. Self-efficacy can also be acquired by mastering a task; by modeling the behavior of others who have succeeded; and from what Prof. Bandura calls "verbal persuasion" -- getting effective encouragement that is tied to achievement, rather than empty praise..... "You can develop a resilient mindset at any age," says Robert Brooks, a Harvard Medical School psychologist who has studied resilience for decades. One key, he says, is to avoid self-defeating assumptions. If you are fired or dumped by a girlfriend, don't magnify the rejection and assume you'll never get another job or another date. (Maintaining perspective can be tough in the face of sweeping criticism, though. A teacher said of young G.K. Chesteron, who went on to become a renowned British author, that if his head were opened "we should not find any brain but only a lump of white fat.")

And don't allow a rejection to derail your dreams. "One of the greatest impediments to life is the fear of humiliation," says Prof. Brooks, who says he's worked with people who have spent the last 30 years of their lives not taking any risks or challenges because they are afraid of making mistakes.
resilience  optimism  inspiration  risk-taking  bouncing_back  Melinda_Beck  perseverance  self-efficacy  self-esteem  self-worth  persistence  humiliation  rejections  sense_of_proportion  personal_standards  affirmations  grit  Thomas_Edison  self-defeating 
january 2009 by jerryking
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