Discussion on all-or-nothing approach.

Life without worthwhile goals is not worth living

Here is Will Ross's take on this at REBT-Forum.

I'm not familiar with the quote, and I'm not sure what it means exactly. It could mean, as Rex suggests, that a life without worthwhile goals is not worth living. If that's the case, then it is both rational and irrational. It's rational because life is far more rewarding when we pursue worthwhile goals. It's irrational because it smacks of what David Burns calls "all-or-nothing thinking." It implies that life is either great or it sucks. There's no room for in-between. Helen Keller said something similar: "Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing." A noble sentiment,but too dichotomous for my tastes. My view is: By all means choose to pursue worthwhile goals, but don't make the mistake of killing yourself if you choose not pursue them.

Another possible meaning is that it's better to be dead than to be mediocre. This seems highly irrational. Given universal human fallibility, we're all mediocre in most respects (some people get to be outstanding in one or two areas, but even they are mediocre in most other areas of their lives). Let's accept our mediocrity and do all we can to enjoy life despite it. You can - if you want - choose to shoot for the stars, but don't expect to land on them. I refer once again to David Burns who gave a chapter of his book the greatest title I've ever seen: "Dare to be Average!"


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