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How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis and Make a Decision

Don’t let the fear of choosing wrong stop you from making a decision.

Have you ever prayed about a major life decision and not received an answer?

The first time this happened to me, I panicked. Why wasn’t God helping me decide? What if I made the wrong decision? I couldn’t choose something this important on my own! I was frozen by analysis paralysis—the fear of choosing wrong—as I tried to predict the consequences, both positive and negative, of each possible choice.

“Sometimes God will reveal His will to us, but many times we are required to move forward in uncertainty.” —Amy Tanner

Photo by Vicky Tran

In her speech, “The Gift of Uncertainty,” Professor Amy Tanner tells us that sometimes uncertainty in decision-making is unavoidable. She says, “Sometimes God will reveal His will to us, but many times we are required to move forward in uncertainty.”

But how do we overcome analysis paralysis and move forward with a decision?

For me, I find reassurance in Professor Tanner’s observation that “when left to our own devices—as we so often are—and when left to press forward in the face of uncertainty—as we so often are—eventually we will all make a decision we regret.”

Why do I find the inevitability of making regrettable decisions comforting? Because, as Professor Tanner assures us, if we embrace the uncertainties we face and make our decisions, God can take those decisions and turn them into opportunities for growth. 

I have made many carefully considered decisions in my life that didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but I have yet to make a decision that God couldn’t salvage. Whether God directs us or not, we can move forward with confidence and trust that the prayerful decisions we make will work out, even if it’s not in the way we expect.

Discover more about the role of uncertainty in decision-making in Amy Tanner’s full speech, “The Gift of Uncertainty.”  

Source: BYU Speeches

—Rachel Frei, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Watch the short video “Wrong Roads,” narrated by Jeffrey R. Holland, to learn more about why God sometimes lets us make “wrong” decisions. 

Read Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “The Hope of God’s Light” for more insight into God’s influence in our lives.

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