Playing the Goldilocks Game

goldilocksA lot of the kids I coach have a really hard time making mistakes. They really want to get things right, and often this translates into resistance to change. When I encounter a swimmer like this we play the Goldilocks game.

“You know Goldilocks right? The porridge is too hot? And too cold? Just right….?”

They all nod.

“So, in order to play the game, we’re gonna make mistakes on purpose,” I say.

I deliver this line with a giant smile. Some kids laugh at me like I’ve lost my mind. Others look terrified.

In order for Goldilocks to get to the porridge that’s the right temperature, she has to get through the one that’s “too hot” and the one that’s “too cold.”

My bike fitter taught me this game, although he didn’t call it that. Is my reach to the handlebars too short? Well, let’s take the reach to a place that’s definitely too far. Too far? Yeah? Good.

Not because that’s where we want to end up, but because I need to know where the other limit is. And then we land somewhere in the middle ground.

Sometimes in order to make change we have to be willing to make a mistake on purpose. If we never make a mistake in the “opposite direction” we don’t really know where the limit is.

And if we don’t know where the outer limits are, how do we know we’ve landed in a nice middle ground?

Learning to be comfortable with mistakes is important because there will always be mistakes. Nothing is perfect. Ever. So it’s really NOT about whether we make mistakes, but what KIND of mistakes we make. Which mistakes are the better ones? And which are less costly?

Mistakes are not the enemy. Can you make mistakes on purpose?

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