Ditch Your All-or-Nothing Attitude: Small Steps to Happiness and SuccessNone By Maile Proctor
Think for a minute: What’s your greatest aspiration? Maybe you want to start your own business, or find a way to make a difference in the world. No matter what your professional or personal goals, many high achievers have certain traits in common. One trait that can drive you to succeed—but can also work against you—is perfectionism.
According to Gordon Flett, a professor of psychology in the Faculty of Health at York University who has done research on perfectionism and health, recent studies continue to suggest that the costs of perfectionism outweigh the benefits. Let’s take a closer look at one aspect of perfectionism that can hinder you from making progress, achieving your goals, and, in many cases, even taking the first step toward something you want—all-or-nothing thinking.
What Is All-or-Nothing Thinking?
All-or-nothing thinking is a cognitive distortion—a negative or twisted thought process. You see things in terms of extremes, in black and white. You are either a success or a failure, according to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Los Angeles: “Your performance was totally good or totally bad. If you are not perfect, then you are a failure. This binary way of thinking does not account for shades of gray, and can be responsible for a great deal of negative evaluations of yourself and others.”
All-or-nothing thinking can hold you back from achieving and/or trying things in your life. If you can’t be the best on the team, you don’t want to play the sport. If you can’t work out for an hour, you may as well skip your workout entirely. The key to moving past this cognitive distortion is to just start. Whatever it is, just get started, gain some momentum (which will make you feel