Inaction: The Crux of Insecurity and Wellbeing (A Plea To Do)

I’ve talked in the past about the two-minute rule, and it’s benefits on motivation and freeing up your mental hard drive. But I want to go into more detail on action taking, and the advantages I’ve found that being proactive can have on our confidence, self-concept/esteem and wellbeing—specifically proneness to depression.

Proactivity and achievement can reduce your tendency towards negative-self talk, something that can quickly lead to depression.

Often times, what we perceive as negativity or cynicism is really vulnerability masquerading as insecurity (fear). Having the insight that you are scared person, rather than a bad or negative person can be monumental.

This realization should usher in optimism or bring a sigh of relief because fear-based thoughts and behaviors can be changed, as opposed to inherent traits or qualities like pessimism. Fortunately, fear, insecurity and depression can be quashed through proactivity and preparation/repetition/momentum.

Accomplishing things throughout the day, even those which may seem insignificant at the time, will prohibit even the tendency of your mind to default to worry or fear, because you followed through and did what you intended to do. Therefore, you will feel prepared to tackle the future occurrences you are fretting over.

When you are proactive, feelings of adeptness and accomplishment lend themselves to “a sense of control” of your life, and “the perception that life is improving,” two things which have been shown to mitigate stress and depression.

Obtain a Growth Mindset

By then reflecting on and basking in your achievements you are cultivating a growth mindset. This concept revolves around learning to appreciate the effort put forth during the process and the progress made, and making those the reward rather than the end goal or result.

Obviously, this is more easily said than done. Unfortunately, you must convince yourself that you enjoy the activity—a difficult task, but absolutely possible.

The brain is a miraculous tool. It provides you the ability to assign a subjective view to an experience via the prefrontal cortex. This is a powerful insight because as you engage with something more and more and your sentiments surrounding it change, what you think about it will impact its rewarding or non-rewarding properties.

One other words, you will gain appreciate for pursuits that cause you discomfort the more you pursue and reflect on them. This phenomenon may be partially explained by the self-realization that you are improving yourself as I alluded to earlier.

One practical example of this is fasting. Though difficult in the twilight hours of the fast, as someone progresses along, they are able to see and feel the benefits in real time, and are thus more likely to pursue them, extending the length of the fast.

Another excellent example is sleep schedule. Though it may be a pain at first to cut yourself off from nighttime stimulation and lay your head down at a reasonable hour, once you begin to do it, you realize the benefits an early bedtime brings, and thus enjoy it. You then are likely to continue the practice.

The nice thing is that this mindset translates to all types of effort rather than being contained to a particular activity.

The key to obtaining a growth mindset is attaching feelings of conflict and struggle to an internally-generated reward. You must find the reward or dopamine release inside effort, rather than rewarding yourself with something innately pleasureful after the effort.

One way to think about it, in the words of neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman, is ‘don’t spike dopamine prior to engaging in effort, and don’t spike dopamine after engaging in effort. Learn to spike dopamine from effort itself.’

When you can practice a growth mindset, you’re able to convince yourself that you can improve your abilities, and that nothing is unattainable. As a result, you will boost your morale and confidence, and be able to rest easy because you have the sense you are in the driver’s seat of your life, and are on a forward trajectory.

‘Sleep On a Bed of Merit’

I once saw a YouTube video with Buddhist monk Nick Keomahavong (seems paradoxical, I know) in which he discussed ‘methods for recharging your mind.’ One of these techniques offers additional emotional benefits beyond just mental clarity—namely combatting worry/anxiety, stress and depression.

One suggestion he makes is to – before drifting off to sleep – reflect on your accomplishments and good deeds from the day, rather than ruminate on your problems or shortcomings.

Take those feelings of achievement and pride, and let them emanate from your core, and blanket your body.

Obviously, this practice becomes easier when you have taken the actions and made the preparations and changes you needed to in order to bring yourself into harmony with your self-concept/ideal self during the day.

For me personally, going to bed feeling accomplished improves my ability to fall and stay asleep, as it prevents me from fretting over things I failed to do that day, or that I need to do tomorrow in order to make up for that inaction.

The truth of the matter is that the last thing you think about before dozing off is highly likely to be the first think on your mind when you wake. In this sense it’s easy to see why inaction, especially ruminating over it before bed, can put you in a depressive loop, starting from the moment you wake up—when ideally, you should be viewing each day anew as an opportunity for a fresh start.

Bear in mind, however, that there is a distinction between between proactivity and productivity. Taking action simply for action’s sake or to increase your perceived productivity can have the opposite effect on your well being, causing stress and overwhelm.

Modern society pushes the productivity mindset, and often many people are quickly steered off course and lose sight of what their initial goal or ideal was altogether. Relationships with others, and more importantly, ones’ self can suffer as a result.

Rather, I’m advocating for deliberate action with intention behind it. When you have clear intent, and have set your coordinates accordingly, you will realize gratification and fulfillment with each achievement, no matter how minuet. This gets back to the growth mindset principle I discussed earlier.

Staying conscious of your intention by slowing down, reflecting, and regularly taking inventory of your values and motivations will help you maintain clarity in your focus. And it will vindicate you, confirming you’re on the right path to your goal as your destination approaches.

Goal-oriented proactivity or momentum building can allow you to feel fulfilled (“satisfied or happy because of fully developing one’s abilities or character”) and accomplished (“highly trained or skilled”) because you have worked closer towards a goal or brought yourself more into balance with your ideals or self-purpose.


The term, Ikigai, which originates from Japanese Traditional Medicine, is loosely translated as simply ‘one’s reason for getting up in the morning’.

The principle revolves around devoting one’s self to the thing that gives them fulfillment, and the sense of purpose and increased wellbeing experienced as a result. Additionally, the pursuit of this thing is generally not just for your own personal benefit, but also in service to others.

Ikigai also resonates with Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy’s emphasis on pursuing activities that produce enjoyment and a sense of mastery, specifically as a way to alleviate depressive disorder., “The Philosophy of Ikigai

In addition to fighting depression, ‘a sense of mastery’ can boost self-esteem and confidence because your perceived worth is higher—you feel like you’ve built upon yourself and have a skill set apt to handle a particular situation you’re facing.

And how does one achieve a sense of mastery? Well, through action, of course—and the repetitive, momentum-building variety in particular.

Obviously, one must know or determine roughly what gives them fulfillment or a sense of purpose in order to take actions in that discipline.

However, the aim of this post is to convey the benefits of action-taking, not discover your self purpose. For those who could use assistance with that, however, I suggest using the free fillable diagram offered at the bottom of the ‘Positive Psychology’ article I linked above.

Call to Action

Now, time to act. If you are experiencing depression or lack of confidence/self-esteem, use any method(s) mentioned of your choosing as a tool to crush it.

Every individual’s circumstance and traits are different, so you may have to experiment to find the best technique or combination of them for you.

– CC


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