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Key Elements | Competence

Sense of Competence


The fifth need is the feeling that one is competent to cope with the challenges of life, termed the “sense of personal competence.” It requires a sense of independence and multiple experiences over time as well as the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to be successful.


The sense of competence or power comes from the belief that we can meet our goals, overcome the problems we face, and achieve the success we dream about. This quiet confidence, referred to by Bandura (1986) as self-efficacy, is essential to self-esteem. It comes about only as a result of numerous successful experiences and involves the ability to use cognitive, social, and behavioural subskills, including decision-making skills, to achieve personal goals.


Personal competence requires the ability to identify options, to make wise choices and decisions, to apply problem-solving skills, and to use resources effectively. Children who possess and apply these skills believe in their potential for achieving success. As a result, they are inclined to take responsibility for their behaviour to demonstrate initiative in solving problems, and to be highly motivated to achieve their goals.


Children who have a sense of competence often display these characteristics:

  • personal accountability
  • self-assessment skills
  • decision making skills
  • resilience
  • perseverance or persistence  
  • knowledgeable about resources
  • good judgment 
  • independence
  • self-confidence
  • positive outlook on life
  • feelings of success and achievement
  • feel empowered



If you want your child /student to display the above characteristics, you can choose from 30 Activity Worksheets for developing Competence in the BASE tools.


Learn what your child / student needs. Log in and Test your child for free.


If you want to find out how well are you establishing a sense of Competence, get BASE and Test yourself.


You will find more suggestions, activities to consider and workshop materials in the Toolkit for Establishing Competence. 

Self-Esteem Institute

Institut R.O.K.

Phone: + 386 1 436 2433




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