DO YOU SUFFER FROM GOLDILOCKS SYNDROME?
Dee Chadwick
23 Aug 2020
No - I don’t mean an envy of gorgeous thick, flowing blonde tresses! Though personally I would readily swap my fine grey hair for a lovely thick head of hair of any colour! Rather, I mean the need for something being just right, spot on, exactly as you want it to be.

THE NEGATIVES OF BEING BLONDE

Having said that, there are times when being in possession of golden locks can be a plus or can count against you. Sadly, there are some people who judge the whole of a person by the colour of their hair – usually if said person is female. They consider that being blonde means that the woman doesn’t have a brain that is worth consideration – the words often accompanying ‘blonde’ being ditzy or dumb!

My gorgeous granddaughter looked like a mini Goldilocks when she was small – fair skin and hair, though lacking those Disney curls. She lived in Hong Kong and her parents were often halted as they walked along by people pointing to ‘the little princess’ and wanting to lift her out of her buggy to have their photograph taken with her. We visited Macau together. We had just settled to breakfast in our hotel when a basketball team entered, looked and left – to return with cameras. They too wanted to pick her up and take her photograph. You can imagine how upset she was. Fortunately, they responded to our requests to leave her to have her breakfast in peace! A disadvantage of being different because of your looks, even when said looks are admired rather than derided or belittled.

SO, WHY GOLDILOCKS SYNDROME?

It’s back to the old fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and a need for something to be just right for us; and not only the temperature of our cereal, the height of our chair or the size of our bed.

I imagine that we all have at least one picky friend – with or without the golden tresses – who would fit into this picture. Being picky can be a good thing. You aren’t being fobbed off with what would be second best for you. You want that cake you are making to look and to taste just right for your palate. However, if you take this beyond pickiness to a need for perfection, you can be setting your personal bar to a height that puts heavy demands on you. That search for perfection can be a very daunting task master and can take away the pleasure in any actual making and creating. It may be that you feel a need for your make up to be just so; your crafting has to be as the one you had seen illustrated or had imagined your finished product would be; that garden has to be picture perfect with an immaculately  manicured lawn and not a single weed to be seen. In reality, these are probably just a few of the visions of perfection for which we aim.

I have always said that if all else fails, lower your standards. I even had a lecturer ask me to remove a badge stating this – then send for me the following day to apologise and say that, having given more thought to my badge, he agreed. We then went on to have a lengthy discussion over coffee as to how we thought this could/would/should apply in practice.

There is a need to set that bar to a realistic and achievable height. Love your flawsome finished product as you reflect on your achievements. (Do check back to a past blog written on the subject of flawsomeness). No hoard of unseen helpers, no photo shopping, just little old you doing the best that you can.... and d’you know, nobody should ask any more of themselves than that.

THEN THERE IS GOLDILOCK’s RULE

Just what would be considered to be a realistic aim? This is where Goldilocks’ Rule comes in to play. James Clear in an extract from his book ‘Atomic Habits’ explains  that ‘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’. I have to say that this rings true for me, as I am a great believer in the concept that if we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got. If we set that bar at the same height, yes we will succeed, but will we develop our skills, our capabilities? If we nudge that bar up too much, then chances are we will not succeed. This applies to an actual high jump, but also to anything else we turn our hand to. Would you expect to be able to play a recognisable tune the first time you played a guitar, a piano. No, of course you wouldn’t. So, that bar has to be set a bit above your current level of achievement. Maybe just a smidge, maybe a baby step, maybe.... simply whatever is right for you.

Bear in mind that as no change, improvement, development follows an upward climbing straight line, you will almost certainly have times when your aims are closer to where you currently are. Those smidge times. Chances are that there will be times at which you are able to stretch yourself a bit more. You are the person with whom you are in competition when it comes to making these changes, these improvements. You are also competing against what for many of us is a need to simply maintain the status quo. A way of being that we are all likely to hit at some time or other throughout our life. Sadly, a way of life that becomes the default setting for many as CNBB (can not be bothered) takes over and you settle back into your rut.

In fact, Goldilocks lends her name to many areas aside from personal improvement and development. Biologists, economists, astronomers are amongst the many users, though I admit that until I began this piece, it was something of which I was completely unaware. So, my learning continues – hopefully at a Goldilocks pace just right for me. Stretching my mind without either boring it or completely befuddling it with ramping up to overdrive too quickly and for too long..

The term Goldilocks economy has been used to indicate an economic state which involves not too much inflation, not too much deflation – rather it is just right for that country at that time. Here’s to many countries returning to this state sooner rather than later as a follow up to the ravages of COVID 19. Astronomers seeking possible planets which may support life describe that these are probably in a Goldilocks zone of being not too hot and not too cold. I guess I apply the principle to my writing too – hopefully hitting the ‘just right button’ with reference to the amount of information and the level of explanation that I include in a blog. I have to judge this by what feels right for me and hope that it is the same for those who read or listen to what I offer!

If applying the principle to an organisation and proposed change within said organisation, this must cause difficulties. How do you judge the level of change to suit the majority? A problem akin to what I, as a teacher and all other teachers, have to do, especially at the beginning of an academic year. We are all so different with a wide range of abilities, expectations, flexibility. We all deserve to be included.

WAS GOLDILOCKS JUST A FAIRY STORY?

In the same way that Aesop’s fables were written to put across a message, I wonder if some of the old fairy tales were also written with this in mind. Or were they simply written as scary stories for children, often read as bedtime stories, with their tales of a wolf dressing up as a grandma; a young woman pricking her finger and going to sleep for 100 years etc etc. I once worked with a child who tried hard not to go to sleep. It turned out that his mum had explained the death of his grandma as her ‘simply going to sleep and never waking up’. I hope that she kept him away from anything sharp if she ever read ‘Sleeping Beauty’ to him!

Then again, I have only covered one spin on the tale of Goldilocks. Maybe she was an entitled little miss who felt that it was ok to let herself into someone else’s home, eat their food and try out their furniture – just because she could. Maybe she went beyond being picky to tick the list as a perfectionist ..... I draw a veil over this as it could well prove to be a blog for another day.

Do please leave a comment - I would really apprciate it.  Dee

 

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