What Every Movie Gets Right About Believing in Yourself

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Admit it: You've cried at ​Moana.​ You've hummed the ​Chariots of Fire​ theme to yourself. You still love the final showdowns in every ​Mighty Ducks​ movie. It doesn't matter how cheesy or well-trodden the trope is: Sometimes all you want from a story is a protagonist who learns to believe in themselves just in time to defeat the big bad.

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Give yourself enough time in the so-called real world and this might start to feel embarrassing. Not so fast — Swiss psychologists have just released a study on self-efficacy and resilience that might just prove all those naysayers wrong. "A self-efficacious person is convinced that they can draw on their own powers to overcome difficult and challenging situations," per the study's authors. That person's brain is also able to regulate their own emotions more effectively, in addition to boast "stronger problem-solving abilities and a higher level of persistence."

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All that came from study participants just believing in themselves. What brought it about was simple: Just by recalling a moment in which they were particularly efficacious, "such as having a successful conversation, passing a difficult exam, or giving a presentation," study participants "found it easier to reassess a negative situation and view it in a different light." The bad experience they thought about didn't seem quite so bad either.

This is not to say that magical thinking will get you through everything. In fact, too much optimism can absolutely backfire. But given the results of this study, there's a reason we keep coming back to stories of people who lift themselves up.

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