We all know the story about Goldilocks and The Three Bears but just in case you don’t
know it or you forget, here’s the rundown:
A girl runs away from home (or is asked by her mother to leave her alone so she doesn’t get in the way) and eventually stumbles across The Bears’ home in the woods. She sneaks in and begins to look for what chair, what porridge, and what bed are “just right” for her. There’s more to it, but you can fill in the blanks. In my opinion, Goldilocks is looking for acceptance and is willing to do whatever it takes to find it.
In a way, we’re all like Goldilocks. There is always something that evades us (whether we’re conscious of it or not) that drives our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. If we’re going to find whatever that something is, we have to engage in tireless trial and error and we have to be willing to take risks (hopefully those risks don’t involve sneaking into strange homes owned by bears :-)). When it comes to our performance, it isn’t any different and because all of us are unique, it is important to experiment and to find our own way.
When we boil it all down, like Goldilocks, we have 3 options with regard to our mindset: 1) We can dwell on the past; 2) We can worry about the future (i.e., future-trip); 3) We can focus on the present moment. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ll push for option #3 every time and for good reason. Specifically, researchers have found that if we’re distracted from the present moment because we’re too focused on the future (e.g., “what will my time be?”, “will my team win?”) or when our pasts monopolize our thoughts (e.g., “I can’t believe my chain just broke”, “The water was cold last time too and my performance sucked!”; “I can’t believe I missed an open net!”), our performance suffers. On the other hand, if we can be more focused on the task we’re doing RIGHT NOW our performance improves. Simple as that! Goldilocks shows us that even in the midst of danger, the unknown, and/or the uncomfortable we can find what we’re looking for (i.e., peak performance or maybe a bed that fits just right). However, future-tripping and dwelling on the past aren’t it. In essence, options #1 and #2 are our “too big” or “too small”. It’s present-moment that is “just right”.