top of page

The Three Barriers to Action

When we find ourselves not taking action, there are three main reasons why. Three barriers. Identifying which reason is important. It points us in the direction of the help we need to seek to get going again.

The three main barriers are:

  1. We simply don’t know what to do or how to do it. We don’t have the knowledge.

  2. We don’t have the motivation. The reasons for doing what we have to do aren’t important enough to us.

  3. Fear.

Now for some more detail.


We need to find out what to do and how to do it. For example, imagine chopping wood with a blunt axe. It’s not really a thing. It’s a lot easier when the blade is razor sharp. It’s knowledge which gives us the sharpness to our axe.

It’s time to find out that extra information. Ask. Be humble enough to except we don’t know. Find those people who have demonstrated actual competency in that area. Learn off them.


Sometimes the reasons behind doing what we need to do aren’t important enough. To generate action, we need the motivation to do it. There are two main motivators; pain and pleasure. We take action when the pain of not taking action becomes too much. Or we take action when the pleasure associated with the results of the action becomes enough.

Ask yourself “what will happen if I don’t do this? I don’t take action? What would the negative results of not taking action actually be?”

Also, “what genuine positive benefits will I experience as a result of taking this action? How will taking this action move me closer towards what I actually want?”

By asking these questions we can leverage pain and pleasure to increase motivation.


There are two main types of fear. The first is animal instinct fear. The second is human ego fear.

Animal instinct fears are hardwired into our brains. It helps us survive. If we came across a sabre tooth tiger back in the day, fear is a good thing. It creates all those chemical changes in our body to try and get us to safety as quickly as possible. Ego fears give us the same kind of responses as if we were confronted with the sabre tooth tiger. However, in our daily life pretty much all our actions and decisions probably won’t lead to a life-or-death outcome. This type of fear is mostly a misuse of our imagination. We imagine worst-case scenarios, terrible outcomes, life-threatening consequences. In reality, they would simply be highly unlikely.

One way of counteracting this misuse of our imagination is to engage realistic thinking. Ask yourself:

  • “Am I creating unrealistic and over-dramatised possibilities?”

  • “Am I creating unrealistic and over-dramatised consequences to my actions?”

  • Be totally rational and logical and ask yourself, “what is actually most likely to happen as a result of me taking action?”

Now you can identify the reason preventing action. Then engage a useful solution. Yay.

Something to think about...

“One day or day one. It's your decision.” - Unknown


Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page