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All-or-Nothing Thinking Stunts Performance!

All-or-Nothing Thinking Stunts Performance!

By: Elizabeth Louis

Do you have a habit of thinking things to be one way or nothing, omitting the gray? 


Are you more product-minded? Meaning you believe this leads to that which creates this?


If so, you may struggle with all-or-nothing thinking, and it’s costing you optimal performance. 


All-or-nothing thinking is a thinking trap or cognitive distortion, and it causes you to see nonbinary situations as binary. 


Very few areas of life are this or that. When you hold the unconscious bias filter of all-or-nothing thinking, you will miss many opportunities because you are focused on seeing something specific backed by subjectivity versus analyzing the data, trusting yourself, and thinking objectively. 


It makes you miss the gray, limiting creativity and solution-focused thinking. When you can’t think clearly, quickly leverage expansive thinking, and can only find problems, your performance will be crap!

To make matters worse, all-or-nothing thinking is fueled by unconscious expectations; and unmet expectations lead a person to frustration or anger. Such an attitude will not help the situation!

What can you do?

Consciously change your thinking. First, you have to grow your awareness. 

STEP #1: Grow your awareness by identifying your triggers. What typically triggers you to think black-and-white.

STEP #2: Consciously practice seeing shades of gray. Before deciding, find three options. If you can only find two, then leverage expansive thinking. 

STEP #3: Find evidence for why this situation falls in a STRICTLY this or that way of thinking. You may be missing some fantastic opportunities.

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