9.1 Human Existence
Existentialism is a school of thought that focuses on the question of human existence. The feeling that there is no purpose, indeed nothing at the case of existence, forms one of the fundamental themes of existentialism. There are some who believe in existence and seek to find meaning in his/her life solely by embracing existence. Some of the questions that bother are. Some thinkers hold the view that human beings are ‘thrown’ into existence not having been chosen it. Existentialism asserts that the ultimate and unquestionable reality is not consciousness but existence.
Human beings are born in society and compared to many other organisms in the animal kingdom are very helpless. Their existence depends on the support available from the primary caretakers. During early years child’s dependence on caretakers leads to attachment. In this context individuality and relatedness both assume great significance and life is organized around these needs. We strive to fulfill both these needs. The organizations created by us serve both these purposes.
The term competence was proposed to indicate the ability of a person to influence the environment. In this sense it was ‘effectance.’ Today competence stands for a person’s ability to perform a given task. There is considerable interest in cognitive, social and emotional competence. It encompasses a combination of knowledge, skills and behavior utilized in performing a task. In a general sense it is the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified or having the ability to perform a specific job skillfully. It may be noted that competence is also used as general description of the requirement of persons employed in organizations and communities. Thus stating the requirements in terms of competencies is becoming prevalent. An important aspect of this approach is that all competencies are stated in terms of action competencies, which means that a person must show in action that he or she is competent. To be competent you need to be able to interpret the situation in the context and to have a repertoire of relevant skills. Regardless of training, competence grows through experience and depends on the extent to which an individual is able to adapt. The striving for competence is the key for success and growth.
9.3 Self Efficacy
Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief about his or her own capabilities to produce designated levels of performance. Such beliefs often exert an influence over events that affect human life. Proposed by Bandura, self efficacy is belief in one’s ability to succeed in a specific situation. These beliefs determine how people feel, think, and get motivate and behave.
Having a strong sense of self efficacy enhances human accomplishments and well being in many ways. It has been found that people with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided. Self efficacy enhances intrinsic interest and facilitates deep engagement in activities. Such people set themselves challenges and goals and maintain strong commitment to them. They also heighten and sustain the efforts in the face of failure.
The high self efficacy people approach threatening situations with assurance that they can exercise control over them. Such an efficacious outlook produces personal accomplishments, reduce stress, and lower vulnerability to depression. The most effective way of creating a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences. People also rely partly on their somatic and emotional states in judging their capabilities. There is growing body of evidence that human accomplishment and positive well being require an optimistic sense of self efficacy to sustain the perseverant effort needed to succeed. The people who are successful, sociable, non anxious, or innovator take an optimistic view of events that affect their lives. If not unrealistically exaggerated, such self beliefs foster well being and human accomplishments.
9.4 Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is seen when people engage in some activity, without obvious external reward or incentive. Thus performing an activity because we like the activity, as we find in the case of hobbies, is an example of intrinsic motivation. Here the activity itself is a reward for that activity. Extrinsic rewards are external to the person (e.g. praise; money) while intrinsic rewards are internal to the person and the task. For example satisfaction or the feelings of joy and accomplishment are intrinsic reward. An intrinsically motivated person will work on a mathematical problem or read a novel, sing, or help because it is enjoyable and provides a sense of pleasure rather than being instrumental in getting an external Intrinsic motivation, therefore, involves self determination reward.
It has been found that the intrinsically motivated action is a goal in itself. Engaging in such tasks enhances self worth and ensures the quality of performance and output.
9.5 Positive Emotions
It is often considered that a person’s well-being depends on the balance of positive emotions such as joy, interest, contentment, and love and negative emotions like anxiety, sadness and anger. In fact positive emotions are found to signal optimal functioning. More recent studies indicate that positive emotions also produce optimal functioning. In other words if you are experiencing happiness then it not only tells that your present condition is good but also ensures that your future condition is also likely to be good. Happiness nurtures further happiness. In this way positive emotions contribute to psychological growth and improve health.
The positive emotions should not be confused with affective states of sensory pleasure and positive mood. They differ from positive emotions because they do not have any appraisal component. They may occur in the absence of external physical sensation. In fact, pleasurable sensations are automatic responses to fulfill certain bodily needs. Positive emotions differ from moods in terms of duration and personal relevance. The moods are often free-floating and continue for long periods.
Broaden and build theory of Positive Emotions
In an interesting study Frederickson has proposed that positive emotions broaden people’s momentary thought action repertoires and build their enduring resources. For example, the positive emotion of interest creates the urge to explore, take in new information and experiences, and expand the self. Similarly, the positive emotion of joy creates an urge to play, be creative, and push the limits. The emotion of love experienced within close relationships creates cycles of urges to play with, explore, and savour our loved ones.
The personal resources which emerge in the course of experiencing positive emotions accumulate and are durable. They can be drawn in subsequent moments on others occasions. The broadened mindsets carry indirect and long-term adaptive benefits because it builds enduring personal resources. Positive emotions function as efficient antidotes for the lingering effects of negative emotions. Positive emotions are associated with the past, the present and the future. The future related positive emotions include optimism, hope, confidence, faith and trust. The past related perceptive emotions are satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, pride and serenity. The present related positive emotions include momentary pleasures and more enduring gratifications. The categories of pleasures include both bodily pleasures and higher pleasures. The bodily pleasures are gained through the senses. Thus the feelings that come from sex, beautiful perfume, and tasty food belong to this category. The higher pleasures, in contrast, come from more complex activities and include feelings such as bliss, comfort, glee, and ecstasy.