Summary: Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets By Andy Stanley
Summary: Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets By Andy Stanley

Summary: Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets By Andy Stanley

More Than a Decision

Life is all about decision-making. Every day. Multiple times a day. Sometimes we’re sure. Sometime we’re unsure. Some of us are quick to decide. Others of us (me included) can’t ever get enough information before we decide. But in the end, we are where we are because of decisions we’ve made. Our futures will be determined by our decisions as well.

Your decisions . . . along with your responses to other people’s decisions, which are also your decisions . . . are about the only thing you can control in life, which means your decisions are how you control your life. Decisions are your steering wheel. Your joystick. Your keypad. Which means . . . and this is big: Your decisions determine your story.

The story of your life.


The Integrity Question: Am I Being Honest With Myself . . . Really?

The easiest person to deceive is the person in the mirror.

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

You’ve done more to undermine you own success and progress than anyone on the planet. Granted, there were outside pressures. Other voices. People promising you stuff. Maybe even threatening you with stuff. But in the end, you decided. But in most cases, you didn’t decide by carefully weighing all the options and seeking wise counsel. You did the opposite.

In many instances, maybe even most, you knew better. Or, you should have known better. But

you ignored know better and started selling yourself on what yourself wanted in the moment.

Question #1: The Integrity Question

Am I being honest with myself?

Decision #1: The Integrity Decision

I will not lie to myself even when the truth

makes me feel bad about myself.

There are worse things than feeling bad about yourself. For starters, clinging to something bad about yourself. Refusing to address what’s bad about ourselves is bad for ourselves. Are you willing to be honest with yourself even if it makes you feel bad about yourself? You’ll never get to where you need to be until you acknowledge where you actually are to begin with. So be honest.

Which is a good thing. After all, your decisions determine the direction and quality of your life as well as the lives of those you love.

Are you being honest with yourself?



The Legacy Question: What Story Do I Want to Tell?

Every decision you make becomes a permanent part of your story.

The story of your life.

What story do you want to tell?

What story do you want told about you?

The good news is, you get to decide. But you decide one decision at a time, because you write the story of your life . . . one decision at a time.

We never know what or who hangs in the balance of the decisions we make, and thus the stories we tell. What we do know is that private decisions have public implications. Perhaps generational implications. Our private decisions won’t remain private. Our personal decisions will impact other persons

Question #2: The Legacy Question

What story do you want to tell?

Decision #2: The Legacy Decision

I will decide a story I’m proud to tell.

I will not decide anything that

makes me a liar for life.

Every decision you make becomes a permanent part of your story. The story of your life.

What story do you want to tell?

What story do you want told about you?

The good news is, you get to decide. But you decide one decision at a time, because you write the story of your life . . . one decision at a time.

Write a good one!


The Conscience Question: Is There a Tension That Deserves My Attention?

When someone is drunk, they don’t consciously ignore common sense. It’s not there to be ignored. They don’t consciously ignore their conscience. It’s been suppressed, switched off. That’s why the following afternoon they . . . you? . . . are texting with a friend:

“I did what?”

“Are you sure? I would never . . .”

“There’s a video?”

And what does this have to do with you?

Well, if you’re drunk, it should be obvious. But of course it isn’t. Covered that.

If you’re not, here’s my point.

Inebriated people can’t pay attention to the cues around them or the internal tension within them. But we sober people are often guilty of choosing to ignore the cues around us and the internal tension within us. Intoxicated people can’t pay attention to social, cultural, and relational cues. But we’ve all seen sober people refuse to pay attention to those same cues. The inebriated aren’t even conscious of their consciences. But we’ve all seen what happens when sober people choose to ignore their consciences—that internal tension that always deserves our attention.

Intoxicated people can’t help themselves.

But sober people often won’t help themselves.

And that leads us to the third question we should pause to ask every time we are making even moderately important decisions.

Question #3: The Conscience Question

Is there a tension that deserves my attention?

Decision #3: The Conscience Decision

I will pause even when I can’t pin-

point the cause of my hesitation.

I will explore, rather than ignore my conscience.

Is there a tension that deserves your attention?

If so, pay attention to that tension.

That’s a decision you will never regret.


The Maturity Question: What Is the Wise Thing to Do?

Nobody is doing anything wrong until they are.

Drawing our lines, setting our limits, establishing our moral and ethical standards on the borderline between right and wrong, legal and illegal, healthy and unhealthy eliminates any margin for error. It’s a foolish and dangerous way to live. You’re dry and safe and then you’re drowning. You’re sober and then you’re not.

This explains why we respond the way we do when someone we love is snuggling up to that elusive line. We react not to what they are doing but to the direction they are heading. We seemingly overreact because the margin of error is such that one wrong move could spell disaster or regret.

In those moments, the issue is not right or wrong, legal or illegal, moral or immoral. There’s something else in play. Something that remains virtually invisible to us when it pertains to us. But something as apparent as the nose on our face when it comes to our children, a niece or nephew, or perhaps the child of a close friend.

What is that something?


Question #4: The Maturity Question

What is the wise thing to do?

Decision #4: The Maturity Decision

I will do the wise thing.

Everybody ends up somewhere in life. I recommend you end up somewhere on purpose.

Wisdom paves the way.


The Relationship Question: What Does Love Require of Me?

Our first four questions come with a guaranteed ROI (Return on investment). You’ll always come out ahead by discovering why you’re doing what you’re doing . . . really. You’ll have something to show for writing a story you want to tell. There will be a positive, often measurable return for paying attention to the tension and doing the wise thing. These four questions always yield a favorable return. Often immediately. Always eventually. Either way, they will pay. Asking and answering honestly will make your life better.

Our fifth and final question is different.

There may be no tangible, measurable, or even noticeable return on your effort with this one. While the first four questions are demanding in the moment, our final question is demanding throughout every waking moment of every day. The reason being, our final question isn’t about making your life better. It’s about making someone else’s life better, which may make your life better. But it may not.

So why bother?

Glad you asked.

Our final question, should you have the courage to ask and act on it, positions you to make the world better.

Here we go.

Question #5: The Relationship Question

What does love require of me?

Decision #5: The Relationship Decision

I will decide with the interests of others in mind.

Love fills the gaps. Love reduces the friction created by our limited insight, knowledge, and judgment-inhibiting experiences. There is much I don’t know. There are things I’ll never understand. But my ignorance does not impede my capacity to put others first.

So while I’m not always sure what to believe, and while my views on a variety of things continue to mature and change, I almost always know what love requires of me.

I bet you do too.