Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets by Andy Stanley: Book Breakdown  

As the old adage goes, “good decisions lead to better decisions.”

It's no secret that the decisions we make in our lives determine the direction and quality of our life. These can range from simple to complex and cover a wide range that makes up the entirety of our lives: from relationships, finances to career moves, and everything in between. All it takes is just a few good or bad choices to completely change our lives for the better or, as Andy Stanley adamantly warns his readers, for the worst.

But what if we expound on this notion to its truest and most philosophically grounded roots? Surely making "better decisions" to better oneself is simplistic as it is arbitrary, right?

Yet, as Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets informs its reader, when approached with authenticity, willingness to break beyond one's metaphysical hang-ups, and truly explore life's most profound yet seemingly unassuming questions, a person can truly grow in ways they could never have otherwise imagined.  

This is Andy Stanley’s basis for ‘Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets,’ in a nutshell.

Decisions Start With Questions 

In his best-selling book, Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets, author Andy Stanley asserts that far too many people complicate their lives with bad decisions. While no one actively chooses to, most of us also don’t consciously structure a life plan based on fruitful choices, either. 

Okay, so how does one go about making a plan that consists of actionable “good life choices” that lead to life betterment? Well, according to the author and his many readers that swear by his methods, it can all be done by asking yourself five seemingly basic questions: 

  1. Am I being honest with myself… really?
  2. What story do I want to tell?
  3. Is there a tension that deserves my attention?
  4. What is the wise thing to do?
  5. What does love require of me?

Each of the above questions serves as chapters in the book and case studies as examined through the lens of personal anecdotes and Biblical Scriptures. Below we will briefly discuss the questions and answers presented in, Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets, by Pastor Andy Stanley. 

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

Decision #1: I will not lie to myself even the truth makes me feel bad about myself.

Better Decisions, Fewer RegretsSometimes the most difficult person to be honest with is ourselves. And, why shouldn't it be? After all, false narratives make it oh so easier during times that call for 'the tepid waters' of delusional convenience. It’s human nature, maybe even an inborn, biological defense mechanism that our lizard brain can overly attach to if left unchecked. 

As pastor Stanley explains in the second chapter,  “We tell ourselves internal stories to avoid facing mistakes . . . It’s much easier to create a story where someone else is to blame than to confront tough things of life.”

He warns that being honest with yourself, no matter how difficult it may be during certain times, is essential to you more than relying on the crutch of convenient half-truths. 

We owe it to ourselves, to be honest with ourselves.

The crux of this portion of the book is that, while it may not be easy, being honest with ourselves can be made simpler by asking the right questions. 

As bizarre as it may sound, it actually helps to add a poignant word with each question; “really.”  

  • Am I being honest with myself . . . really? 
  • Why am I doing this . . . really? 
  • Why am I avoiding him . . . really?
  • Why am I postponing this . . . really? etc.

Just tell yourself the unfiltered truth.

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

Decision #2: I will write a story I’m proud to tell one decision at a time.

In the third chapter, pastor Andy Stanely relies on the story of Joseph to teach us how even under the most excruciatingly unfair circumstances, we have the God-given (if not explicitly encouraged) ability to make our story our own. It’s easy to imagine what a normal person (such as ourselves?) might have done if our fable started with being sold into slavery by our jealous siblings. (path of a life of revenge, anyone?) 

It’s even easier, in the end, to understand why he solidified his legacy as a legendary blueprint for those in much lesser circumstances to follow with every choice Joseph made.  

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 to be told about yourself? 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!

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