How the 'All or nothing' mentality can ruin your life

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Just hit restart and start over

I still remember what i used to do when i was a young kid playing video games. I used to start the level with the goal of finishing it in a perfect way. If i got few hits and my health was reduced in the beginning of the game i quickly used to restart the game.

What i had in mind back then is that i wanted to finish the level in a perfect way and as a result i didn't want to lose some of my health in the early beginning of the game. Because i was too young i never really understood that this was a symptom of the all or nothing mentality.

When i grew few years older i became a perfectionst. For me things were either black or white and the grey color was totally absent. When it came to simple life choices such as restarting a game or continuing i didn't have any trouble but as i grew older and the choices became more complex i started to realize how perfectionism and the all or nonthing mentality can ruin a person's life.

There is no restart in real life

When it comes to real life there is usually no restart button in many choices. Time goes only in one direction and whether you are satisfied with the results or not you can't just go back in time.

In other words in real life you need to adapt and keep moving even if you messed things up in the past. People who have the all or nothing mentality suffer a lot because they get frustrated when they realize that they can't go back in time nor adapt to the new changes.

If you are one of those people then the first thing you need to understand is that whether you will like it or not you will have to go through unpleasant situations that you don't really like and that there won't be a restart button.

The only thing you can go in such a case is to adapt, change your plans and move forward. If you kept wishing for a new game or a new start then you might remain wishful forever without achieving any results.

Perfectionism leads to the all or nothing mentality

The primary cause of the all-or-none mentality is perfectionism. There is a great difference between the desire to be perfect and perfectionism. The desire to be perfect is a good one but it doesn't make a person feel really bad if he missed a mark or two in an exam.

Perfectionism on the other hand is a negative way of thinking that makes a person miserable ,if he lost a mark in an exam for example, and that feeds the all or nothing mentality.

The problem in such a case is that the exam can't be taken again and that the person with this mentality has no option but to do the last thing he is capable of doing which is adapting without restarting.

Get rid of your perfectionism and your All-or-nothing mentality will end as well.

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