Being all or nothing will get me nowhere

Posted: 23 May, 2013 in inspiration, motivation, Staying positive
Tags: , , ,

Arthur-Boorman-02Yesterday I walked into my office and commented to the receptionist how hot it was inside. The client at the counter agreed with me and we suggested one of the heaters be turned off and the heating on the other be turned down a little.

Today when I walked in I commented on how miserably cold it was outside and how lovely and warm it was inside.

The same receptionist turned to a client at the counter and said, “Well, that’s a change! She usually tells me it’s too hot in here and I have to turn the heating down.”

I laughed along with her and reminded her that I’d actually only said that once. But that didn’t matter. As she told the story again and again I “always” told her to turn the heat down, it happened “all the time”, and I was “forever” commenting on how hot it was in the office.

I realised that she is an all or nothing person. I know this because I used to be one too. There was no in-between with me. I was always wrong, I would never succeed, I would always fail, and there would never be a second chance. If something happened once, that set the precedent for all future attempts.

You may also have people like this in your life. You are late to an appointment once and you are forever known for never being on time; you forget to pay a bill, post a letter or complete some other task by its due date and you are suddenly irresponsible.

Regardless of how many times prior to this slip you have been on time and made a deadline, your reputation is ruined by the insistence of the all-or-nothing crowd that there is no making up for that one slip.

Being an all-or-nothing thinker gets you nowhere. In business, finances, health, socialising – in every area of your life – it is much better to get rid of the words always, forever and never. I know with my writing those three words can be the end of me. If I have a bad day of writing and I tell myself it will always be like this, and I will never get my creativity back, why would I bother to ever pick up a pen again? I do try to meet every deadline given to me but if I fall short it doesn’t mean I’m never going to be on time ever again, and telling myself that is only going to bring negativity and disinterest into my work. If I’m trying to lose 5kgs and I don’t lose anything from one week to the next, I can’t tell myself the weight will never come off.

Because the truth is, apart from being a deadly addition to my daily self-talk, these statements are wrong. There are plenty of examples of people who prove these statements are wrong, people who have tried in business, writing, and weight loss who had all the odds against them and didn’t give up when it seemed things were never going to work out.

Imagine if, after being rejected by almost every publisher in Britain, Joanne Rowling had given up trying to get her first Harry Potter book published because it would always be rejected.

Imagine if Arthur Boorman had listened to every doctor who told him he would never walk unaided, let alone run, ever again. As this amazing, now completely transformed, man says, “Just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it someday.” He refused to hear the word never and he has the most inspiring story because of it.

So, no matter how many all-or-nothing thinkers I have in my life it doesn’t mean I have to be that way. I know I’m not always going to be like this. The changes I make every day are proof of that. I will get better. I will be a better writer. I will finish this book. I will blog again. I will lose those pesky extra kilos. I know these things will happen. Never just doesn’t come into it.

  1. Jane says:

    Great blog, so you mean that maybe one day I will be organised? Good to see you today and have a bit of a laugh, and good to see you are blogging again

    Sent from my iPhone

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