A concerned, worried man with gray hair.

What’s the best way to deal with fear of taking action? How can you overcome your anxieties?

Dealing with the fear of taking action starts with acknowledging the problem and deciding to address it directly. The best way to do this is to set a goal of facing your fear in a small, insignificant way to build confidence.

Here’s more on developing courage and confidence.

A Tip to Overcome Fear: Start With Something Small

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson offers one way to address the fear of taking action: Just do something, no matter what it is. He suggests that people who are paralyzed by fear should pick some extremely small goal and then accomplish it. For instance, a board member might set a goal to make just one suggestion of his own, even if it’s about something unimportant like which restaurant should cater their next meeting.

Manson says that setting such a low bar will help in two ways: 

First, the task is so trivial—and the consequences for failing are so minimal—that the person will be less afraid of making a mistake. To continue the earlier example, that board member should ask himself whether it really matters if the board decides not to go with the restaurant he suggested. After realizing that it doesn’t matter, he’ll feel free to make that suggestion.

Second, accomplishing even a tiny goal will prove to the fearful person that they’re making progress, and it will motivate them to keep making progress. To continue the earlier example, perhaps that board member’s next goal could be to make just one suggestion about something business-related. Once he realizes that he can do that, he’ll start being able to function as a contributing member of the board.

How to Overcome the Fear of Taking Action: Start Small

Becca King

Becca’s love for reading began with mysteries and historical fiction, and it grew into a love for nonfiction history and more. Becca studied journalism as a graduate student at Ohio University while getting their feet wet writing at local newspapers, and now enjoys blogging about all things nonfiction, from science to history to practical advice for daily living.

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