Famous cognitive and social psychologist Stanford professor, Albert Bandura, spend over 20 years researching self-efficiency. He published his book, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control in 1997. What is self-efficiency? It is the belief that you can achieve what you set out to do.
I know of a person who has struggled over the last eight years with getting his invention out there. His creative ideas for improving a product have been a challenge, from invention to patents to production to marketing. Many people have reminded him that inventors are successful only 5 percent of the time.
Bandura speaks of the more innovative the work, the greater the risk of rejection. People who want to make social changes “must struggle to overcome their frustrations, apprehensions, uncertainties, self-doubts, and despair to keep going in the face of aversive obstacles and social resistance.”
He suggests that comparing one’s own difficulties favorably with the plight of others can be helpful. Here of some of his examples:
- The novelist Sarvyan had more than a thousand rejections before he had his first literacy piece published
- Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life, and Picasso begged an art gallery owner to store his paintings from the rain but was rejected
- Fred Astaire was initially rejected by Hollywood as being “a balding, skinny actor who could dance a little”
- Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles because they did not like their sound and felt that guitar groups were not in vogue
- The city of Anaheim initially rejected Walt Disney’s proposed theme park because it would only attract “riff-raff”
I believe that with perseverance, one can triumph over adversity and rejection, as in the examples above. Another source of examples of how the belief in yourself and your product, along with perseverance, is watching the stories highlighted on the TV series “Food That Built America” and “Toys That Built America.”