33+ Examples of All-or-Nothing Thinking

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Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by the thought method co.

All-or-nothing thinking is a harmful thought pattern that leads to depression and anxiety.

When we think in all-or-nothing terms life becomes rigid. We ignore complexities and we make assumptions. It’s irrational but can feel oh so right in the moment.

All-or-Nothing Thinking Examples

Certain words are associated with all-or-nothing thinking. If you know what they are you can watch out for them and catch yourself when you’re thinking in all-or-nothing terms.

But remember that while these words may be an indicator of all-or-nothing thinking, using them does not automatically mean you’re thinking in all-or-nothing terms.

These words could also just be a minor exaggeration or a reduction for brevity. So it’s important to consider the thoughts and their impact before labeling.

Check out the examples below of all-or-nothing thinking grouped under 9 words commonly associated with all-or-nothing thoughts.

Quick Note Before We Begin

All-or-nothing thinking is negative. Just writing the examples made me feel heavy. So there are puppy pics to help lighten the mood while you’re reading. And check out the mantra at the end to leave on a positive note.


  • “There’s always a problem.”
  • “I always screw things up.”
  • “They always let me down.”
  • “This always happens.”
  • “I always make the wrong choice.”


  • “We never go out anymore.”
  • “She never listens to me.”
  • “I never do it right.”
  • “Things never go my way.”
  • “It will never be OK.”
  • “I’ll never reach my goals.”
  • “I can never make decisions.”


  • “Everything is falling apart.”
  • “Everything get’s ruined.”
  • “I mess everything up.”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”


  • “Everyone is against me.”
  • “I hate everyone.”
  • “Everyone is happy and in love except for me.”


  • “Nothing works out right.”
  • “There’s nothing I can do.”
  • “It’s all or nothing.”

No one

  • “No one cares.”
  • “I would, but no one would notice.”
  • “No one wants to talk to me.”
  • “No one will read your writing”

(Author’s note: I was recently in a writing group and a writer said he thought “no one” would read my writing. An example of him projecting his all-or-nothing mentality.)


  • “I can’t do anything right.”
  • “I’d try but I can’t do new things.”
  • “I can’t change even if I tried.”

RELATED ARTICLE: All-Or-Nothing Thinking: What It Is and What It Looks Like


  • “People either like me or hate me.”
  • “They’ll accept the proposal or my business is a failure.”
  • “It’s either a complete success or total failure.”


  • “I’m just not attractive in the job market anymore.”
  • “Things used to work out, not anymore.”
  • “There’s no good people anymore.”
  • “No one wants to work anymore”

Ending Thought and Mantra

Say it with me now:

“While I may not do things right all the time, I’m doing the best I can with what I have. And in the end things will work out for me because I deserve happiness, respect and love just as much as everyone else.

Someone just spent hours and came up with examples so I can be aware of and get rid of all-or-nothing thinking. The puppy pics were cute as hell. She’s a genius.

There are people out there who care and genuinely want me to succeed. I’m gonna go out there and do this. I can!”

Photo by Alex Ghizila

what do you think?

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