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Home » How to Overcome Indecision: Nuala Walsh (Transcript)

How to Overcome Indecision: Nuala Walsh (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Nuala Walsh’s talk titled “How to Overcome Indecision” at TEDxUniversityofSalford conference.

In this TEDx talk, behavioral scientist Nuala Walsh explores the nature of indecision, which can feel overwhelming, often driven by the fear of making the wrong decision and the craving for certainty. She highlights the importance of understanding why we struggle with decisions, reframing big decisions and breaking them down into smaller parts, visualizing ourselves in the future, positively framing decisions to reduce the sense of fear, and expanding optionality before making a decision.

Listen to the audio version here:


A 14th century parable tells the story of a really hungry and thirsty donkey that stumbles across a bucket of hay and some water. Bewildered the donkey stares at both and can’t quite decide which to have first, the water or the hay. Time passes, the donkey still can’t decide. Eventually the poor donkey dies from chronic thirst and starvation, or is it actually from chronic indecision?

Fast forward to the 21st century and how many of us sometimes feel like that indecision donkey? We make a big deal out of something small, we don’t think about the future consequences of our actions and we become paralyzed at the thought of making a mistake.

As a behavioral scientist with 30 years in corporate life, I’ve studied many different books and articles on decision making. Most of them will tell you how to make a better or a smarter decision. Very few will tell you how to make a decision, any decision, when you’re feeling mentally stuck.

But what if by simply understanding why you can’t make a decision you can learn to overcome indecision? Everyone can become a confident decision ninja by changing their perspective, by reframing how they think about that particular indecision. And all you need is three simple science-based techniques.

But first let’s look at the nature of indecision itself. Nearly six billion Google searches tell us it’s not necessarily the most complex of decisions that baffle us. It can be what to wear, what to watch on Netflix, just as much as it can be whether to speak up against wrongdoing, whether to change your job, change your partner or start a new business. It’s different for everyone, young or old, rich or poor.

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