Stay Motivated And Achieve More With The Goldilocks Principle

Productivity tip goldilock principle motivation
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One day the three bears sat down to breakfast.

“This soup is too hot!” said the Mama bear.

“This soup is too hot!” said the Papa bear.

“This soup is too hot!” said the baby bear.

“Let’s go for a walk,” said the Mama bear.

“When we come back, our soup will be just right.”

Along came a girl.

She walked into the house.

She saw three bowls of soup.

“This bowl of soup is too hot.” Said the girl.

“This bowl of soup is too cold,” said the girl.

“This bowl of soup is just right!” said the girl.

And she ate it all up.

The above extract from the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, while nothing more than a children’s tale for some, contains the secret to long term motivation and achievement according to others like James Clear who wrote about the Goldilocks Principle.

According to Clear, there are only 2 essential factors to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining long-term motivation and results:

  1. Stick to The Goldilocks Rule and work on tasks of just manageable difficulty.
  2. Measure your progress and receive immediate feedback whenever possible.

But what exactly is the Goldilocks Rule?

As you may have already guessed, Mr. Clear describes it as follows:

The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

So what ever your short or long term goals may be, make sure they sit just outside of your comfort zone, but not so out of reach that self-doubt will sabotage your efforts.

For more wisdom on the topics of productivity, optimal performance, the neuroscience of achievement and success – or simply to learn more about the Goldilocks Principle from James himself – this link will take you straight to his blog.


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Ben Baker is the communication officer and content editor for the team here at Science of Zen. His interest in personal growth topics range from mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, performance psychology and natural health.