Motivation and The Goldilocks Rule

To maintain motivation through uncertainty and setbacks, make sure to remember that Goldilocks Rule when planning your day.

We quickly lose interest when we do simple, repetitive tasks. Not needing to be actively engaged, our brain wanders and interest wanes. Something similar happens when we’re faced with difficult tasks. As we struggle with a tough decision, our anxiety rears its head, we start to fear that we’re going to make a mistake so our mind wanders and we check Twitter for some much needed relief. There’s a sweet spot in between these two that we should be striving towards and it has a name: the Goldilocks Rule, named after the fictional character who had a run in with three bears and their porridge.

“The 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.” [1]

Finding the right balance is difficult. More so if you are leading a team or the founder of a company and are expected to be involved in a lot of fields that you might not have any experience in. As the founder of Feelmo, I found that my days were filled with activities that were always often on the too hard side and definitely struggled keeping up motivation, especially when it seemed like setbacks followed one by one.

Willpower can only take you so far. To maintain motivation, make sure that you: Acknowledge the difficulty in what you’re doing, Balance your days, Delegate when possible and have a Network that supports you.


Remember that what you’re doing is tough. Rather than beating yourself up when a customer says no or an investor doesn’t respond, acknowledge that what you decided to do was always going to be difficult. Find motivation by recalling your why and in the mission you set for yourself.


Strive for balance in your days. Your brain, like any muscle, will tire after being strained. Structure your days and weeks according to what works for you and interlace higher difficulty tasks with easier ones. Don’t schedule difficult meetings or tasks that’ll require a lot of thinking after you’ve slogged through your overfull inbox or at the end of a hectic day.


Just because you’re the founder doesn’t mean you’re supposed to know all the answers. Your job is to know who does. Find and recruit people with the necessary skillsets and make sure they have everything they need to succeed.

Support network

Make sure that you have a network of individuals who can support you when you need them. Seek out people in similar situations, or better yet, people who have been through what you’ve already been through. Find a coach who can motivate you and be a sounding board for many of the difficult decisions you need to take alone. Ask for help.


Relying on willpower and brute force will not be sufficient to support you through all the difficult days that will come your way as the founder of a company. With a system in place intentionally designed to cater to your needs you stand a better chance of weathering the tough days and setbacks that will come.


[1]: Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer

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