5 ways an All or Nothing Mindset Sidelines You

Dec 15, 2011Find joy today, Heal from the past

This morning I was thinking in the shower (yes it does happen). I thought about my tendency to do all or nothing. If I take a run in the morning, I tend to make the whole day a healthy nutrition fest. But if I miss my run, chocolate lurks around every single corner of my house, making me eat it all day long. It’s all or nothing.

Having this kind of mindset sabotages you, though. How? Here are five ways:

  1. If you fail, you fail wholly. If you’re an all or nothing person, one little mistake opens the door to widespread failure for the rest of the day. (Well, if I’ve eaten one chocolate covered peanut butter ball, I may as well eat a dozen. Or, if I can’t get an A in that class, I may as well give up and settle for a C.) Rooted in this is a strange form of perfectionism. If I can’t be perfect, I may as well fail perfectly.
  2. You tend to judge yourself relentlessly when you have this mindset. When you fail, it becomes catastrophic (even though it’s not). The world crumbles around you and Eeyore becomes your best friend.
  3. On the flip side, when you’re flying high doing everything well, you can fall into the trap of pride and arrogance. When others don’t live up to your expectations or standards, they become fodder for judgment. You may not say this out loud, but internally you’ll wonder why other people can’t hold it together as beautifully as you can.
  4. You forget there was only One All person on this earth. Only Jesus could do all the Father asked Him to. Only He lived a sinless, perfect life. Only He could accomplish what He was meant to accomplish. When we forget this, we place ourselves in His place, thinking we have to do it all in our own strength. Forgetting He is All, we make ourselves our all.
  5. Lapsing into the nothing category shortchanges your growth. When we give up and falsely believe that we’ll never amount to anything and why try, we stop risking, stop trying, stop growing. This causes atrophy in our spiritual lives.

So what about you? Are you an all or nothing person? If so, what has helped you get over it? What has helped you grow beyond it? And for those of you who aren’t, can you give us advice? 🙂