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A Lesson From Goldilocks

Aug 21, 2021

Why do some, like James Dyson who failed in 5,126 attempts before perfecting his revolutionary vacuum, persist for years at their craft? 

The Goldilocks Principle

Scientists have studied such persistence for years and the findings are consistent. 

While there is still much to learn, one of the most consistent findings is that the way to maintain motivation and achieve peak levels of desire is to work on tasks of just manageable difficulty. (James Clear)

This isn't a foreign concept in education. Just manageable difficulty has been used by teachers in levelled reading, individualized instruction, and other very common teaching strategies for years.

In leadership circles, this axiom is often referred to as the Goldilocks Principle. 

We experience peak motivation when we work on tasks that are not too hard, not too easy, but just right.

So, what if we differentiated our leadership according to what's just right for our people and they could feel themselves making progress?

Educators are serial goal-setters, often choosing new growth goals at the dawn of a new school year. Wouldn't it be wonderful to help the individuals and teams we serve to transform our culture from being one of goal-setting to goal-getting?  

Beginning with an easily remembered lesson from a fairy tale and a touch of constructive creativity can only add to the intrinsic motivation of our people and teams.



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