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The Goldilocks Rule

I’m sure you’d all remember the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. A little girl goes for a walk in the forest, discovers a house and helps herself to the porridge. She decides that she likes the porridge with a temperature that is not too hot, not too cold, but ‘just right’.

I was reminded of this story recently while reading Tracy Brower’s book Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work. Tracy talks about the Goldilocks Rule in the context of work-life supports.  She argues that a company must not have too many or too few supports, instead, they must have ‘a set of approaches and solutions that are just right‘.

Brower puts the Goldilocks principle simply: ‘As much as necessary, as little as possible.’

I Googled the Goldilocks rule and discovered that it is an actual thing. A real principle that has been applied to planets, psychology, medicine and economics (thanks, Wikipedia).

This simple, eight word sentence really struck a chord with me.  I realised that I’ve been unknowingly living by the Goldilocks principle of ‘just the right amount’ for some time:

  • I avoid buying things unless I know I will get good use out of them and they will serve some real purpose in my life (how very Marie Kondo of me).  ‘As much as necessary, as little as possible.’
  • Lilly has few toys by modern standards and I am doing my best to keep it that way.  ‘As much as necessary, as little as possible.’
  • I work enough to get the job done, but I don’t overdo it for the sake of ‘putting in hours’ or achieving perfection. ‘As much as necessary, as little as possible.’
  • I have a capsule wardrobe which I absolutely love (I honestly can’t believe I used to buy something new to wear out every weekend!).  ‘As much as necessary, as little as possible.’

You get the idea.

In today’s culture of consumerism and disposable goods, perhaps we could all benefit from taking a leaf out of Goldilock’s book.  Rather than constantly chasing more, we need to be satisfied with what we have and what we need. We need to replace our must-have mindset with this simple mantra: ‘As much as necessary, as little as possible.’

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