Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

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Self-Efficacy

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

October 23, 2022



"The source of what people do and what they don't do is that people's actions are in a naturally, necessarily directly connected dance with the way the circumstances on which and in which they are performing occur  (show up) for them."
... 
"Self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments."
... American Psychological Association

"I seem to be a verb."
... Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"Do, or do not: there is no try!"
... Yoda, Grand Master of the Jedi Order

"Do, or do not: there is no believe."
... Laurence Platt, Jedi Knight

"Just do it."
... Nike
This essay, Self-Efficacy, is the eighteenth entry in The Laurence Platt Dictionary:


An old friend once introduced me to a group as a "motivational speaker". "Thank You" I said, bowing to the compliment, "but please don't call me that - it's not who I am.".

The truth is I'm not motivated to be in action. At best (drawing a bead on what's so) I do what I do, and I don't do what I don't do. That's verifiable - and stand-alone. Being motivated's really got nothing to do with it. Neither do I need a reason  to be in action. I also don't need a reason to not  be in action. Indeed, I don't need a reason to need a reason. Thus I'm not motivated to be in action, and I don't need a reason to be in action in order to be in action.

What I'm inquiring into here / what I'm discovering here, is: what does get me into action from not being in action ie what is it that gets me being in action, discounting being motivated to be in action and / or needing a reason to be in action? One way of looking at this is: it really is "none of the above". Rather it's: action happens  ... or ... it doesn't. That may be too Zen  for some unsophisticated palates, in which case let's see if we can assign a source  to being in action / let's look at assigning cause in the matter  of being in action - and if so, we'll be able to cut "the Zen of it" some slack (for the time being at least).

I would characterize such a source as self-efficacy. And what I mean when I say self-efficacy doesn't fit well with the classic definition of self-efficacy which suggests a steadfast belief  in ourselves to motivate us to act powerfully. But I myself don't require a belief in myself to act. I act ... or ... I don't act. Belief's got nothing to do with it (for the record, I don't believe in belief - which in and of itself is a subject for another conversation on another occasion). There's also this: the classic deployment of "self-efficacy" is as a noun, whereas the power of its causal act really starts with "to self-efficate"  which is my new verb.

This then is the American Psychological Association's classic definition of "self-efficacy":

<quote>
Definition
self-efficacy


noun
an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments
<unquote>

Interimly, while it's useful to consider self-efficacy (the noun) as a concomitant of belief (ie self-efficacy as "believing in myself"), I take issue with this approach inasmuch as I still have to account for taking action once I've become a convert ie once I'm a believer in myself. Self-efficacy (the noun) doesn't account for taking action whereas "to self-efficate" (the verb) does.

With that said, here's my entry for "self-efficacy / self-efficate" in the Laurence Platt Dictionary. Try it on for size. It's:

<quote>
Definition
self-efficacy


noun
from the verb self-efficate
to boldly step up to dance in a naturally, necessarily directly connected way with all the circumstances which occur (show up) on which and in which an individual is performing so that all executed behaviors produce optimal performance under all circumstances
<unquote>

Ultimately, self-efficacy (a noun) is my belief I can do it, and "to self-efficate" (a new Laurence Platt Dictionary verb) is to just do it (as Nike may have said).



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