A Reflection on Self-Efficacy

Have you ever had the situation where you believed in something so strongly that it happened? Were there times you didn’t take any action because you could not properly predict the outcome? Just like all the Asian Men out there, I too have experienced many times of being humbled.

Do you remember the first time your dad took off the training wheels on your bike? I still remember it. It was the time where I felt supremely invincible. Well maybe not that invincible, but I was able to pick myself up from any pain or adversity endured. The first time I fell off my bike merely moments after those two little rear wheels were taken off. It was the first time I realized you had to keep pedaling to stay balanced or come tumbling onto the pavement. I remember the tears that came along with the minor cuts on my knee, but I wasn’t crying because I couldn’t do it, it was simply because I was in pain. I fell for a second time because I didn’t know how to properly ascend a sidewalk from the road, and a third for not properly counterbalancing my turning. Yes it hurt, but I truly believed that I was capable of riding a bike.

In other words this was the beginning of building my own self-efficacy. Now you may confuse this with the term confidence, but this much more than the strength of belief in a particular outcome. I would describe self-efficacy as a belief that competencies are attainable, regardless of the setbacks that occur along the way. Now everyone will choose different skill sets and interests, but they tend to gravitate to areas where there are levels of success.

Who would enjoy doing something that you always lost at? For every sport, video game, or interest we experienced some sort of success that kept us going forward. There was just the right mix of challenge and skill that kept our interest levels up. We knew there were opportunities to improve and eventually achieve a high level of success.

The biggest problem for Asian Men is that societal expectations and popular culture does not emphasize self-efficacy, but place a perceived value on a pseudo-confidence that borders arrogance and selfishness. There is no secret that a tall athletic built male with a chiseled jaw line can be forgiven for his bravado, but is that a true qualifier for Asian Men to be attractive? Certainly it is an uphill battle, but the most important thing is not to be discouraged. I simply say this is because the “confidence” that mainstream society is accustomed to perceiving is not as readily apparent in Asian Males, and thus they may seem less desirable.

If I reapply this to our TCAI Model at AMWF Love, the expected behavior will differ depending on the primary archetype of the Asian Male:

  • Technophiles will be more assertive with themselves – stepping out of their comfort zone
  • Comedians will take a chance to say something funny – a natural swagger
  • Ambitious will depict a bold masculine presence – a dominating approach
  • Individuals will listen to their own heart – just being themselves

So be sure what archetype you identify with – that goes for both ones looking for an AMWF Relationship or who are already in an AMWF Relationship.

 

Building Self-Confidence in Asian Men

One of the biggest misconceptions with Asian Men is that they are deemed to be not confident – all the time. Personally I cannot wrap my head around the fact that people can simply make a global statement for all Asian Men, when in fact there are a considerable amount of Asian Men who are confident, but tend to be more on the cautious and reserved side. By no means should they be immediately labelled not confident.

The Confidence Formula

Remember the first time you went to ride your bike? I remember mine vividly. The progression went from tricycle to training wheels, and the training wheels removed.  When my dad removed the training wheels I ended up tipping over my bicycle within ten seconds because I had insufficient speed. I cried in agony, but I picked myself back up and tried again. Building confidence is like this, it’s done step by step often with catastrophic failures, but eventually we get it.

To be honest, we instinctively learned the process as a child. However, for many somewhere along the line we forget about the process and take up the pathway of rote memorization. For me I would say it was by the time I was thirteen to fourteen, it was no longer the pursuit of individuality, but a submission into obtaining the highest grades possible with rote. I was fortunate enough not to have the same family pressures as my Asian friends, and my parents let me cultivate my own way of thinking.

The problem with the rote way of thinking was the pursuit of perfection. Only error free test examinations were acceptable and other grades were unsatisfactory. Now when we apply this to interpersonal relationships, this doesn’t quite work out. For many Asian Males, it’s facing the most dreaded school courses: English, and to a lesser extent the Social Sciences. What makes things so difficult is the lack of bivalent logic that Mathematics and Natural Sciences have. The information is hidden within the words that can’t be measured by a machine, but has to be felt emotionally.  

In short, for many Asian Men (and Asians in general), our formula for success is simply:

  • Memorize
  • Regurgitate
  • Purge
  • Repeat

I would say the steps for building a skill set and confidence in it would be:

  • Just try it (believe in it)
  • If it doesn’t work out, take positive feedback from the mistakes
  • If it still doesn’t work, find a mentor or expert.
  • After repeated success, build more belief in yourself

Confidence in this regard is when we have nearly absolute certainty on the answer. When we do not, we end up playing the reserved or cautious approach.

Being Reserved & Cautious

Since life for the most part is not something of absolute certainty, we tend to remain on the reserved and cautious side. Among the various factors that contribute to being reserved, shame would probably be the underlying reason. Being publically ostracized is one of the worst feelings to experience as an Asian, and while it may be used to keep every citizen to behave properly, the only way we perceive not to bring shame is really to do nothing at all. Being embarrassed in public is a terrible feeling for Asian Males, and even behind closed doors as well.

This is really no different when you are doing something that is not in your field of expertise. Not only is there a steep learning curve, you have to go through endless amounts of mistakes before you even feel like you’re progressing.  As a result, our natural inclinations as Asian Males tend to be subdued.

Regarding the AMWF Relationship

This is definitely a reoccurring issue when dealing with an AMWF Relationship. If language issues are not a significant barrier, then I would guarantee that a White Female needs a certain level of mental and emotional stimulation through conversation.  When the Asian Male shrugs his shoulders when a White Female asks about dinner plans, it’s of slight annoyance. The problem is that she may think that you are indifferent, or have absolutely no confidence with your preference. Of course as an Asian Male you may have played a little too safe attempting to communicate that you really just wanted to be with her.

When it comes to using technological devices such as the latest smartphone, Asian Males take on a completely different persona. We know the technical specifications and how to synchronize it with a desktop computer. What happened? Asian Males tend to have the confidence when we have absolute certainty, and when we are not as certain, we play the conservative approach.

Thus, when we speak of building self-confidence, it is something Asian Males already have, but is often underdeveloped. It begins with a belief, and then action is taken.  What’s important is that it usually doesn’t work out on the first attempt, but take it as feedback to point you in the right direction.  So go out there not to be perfect, but to make yourself better one step at a time.