The ‘Goldilocks Zone’ — Avoid caring too little, or too much, about anything.
Everything in life tastes better with non-attachment. Romantic relationships, friendships, health, career, your goals (if you’re foolish enough to have them)… you can’t even get too caught up in the search for Enlightenment and meaning. You’d be reading a self-help book, and then next thing you know, you’re a twenty-one year-old life coach.
But there’s a problem with the English Language — we’re missing levels within words. The middle zone is one I’ve come to call ‘The Goldilocks Zone’ — the place of non-attachment.
Don’t see the value in ‘goals’?
When you say to someone ‘I don’t see the value in goals’ or ‘I’m not necessarily looking for a partner’ they take this statement to the wildest possible extreme (usually the Negligent Zone), normally because of their ego adjusting to a novel concept.
‘What, no goals whatsoever?’ they say. And I say ‘No, like right now, I want to get out of this pointless conversation with you. I guess that’s a goal. I’m also writing a book.’ And they say ‘don’t you have targets?’ and I say, ‘Would you like me to pull a number out of my backside? The Alchemist sold only one copy in the first six months on the shelves.’
So you see, there is something like a goal there, but it’s in this delightful Goldilocks Zone. Not too indifferent, not too attached, but juuuuust right. (Besides, we should point out that trying not to have goals would be a goal in and of itself).
Finding that partner
Then we come to my not actively looking for a partner. They think ‘What, are you going to become a priest?’ then they pause an add, ‘I mean, a celibate priest?’ And I say, ‘No, I’m open to having a partner, I’m just not desiring it, for fear that such desiring would ruin the Now. Nor am I boring myself to death with dating apps — I find swiping left on unattractive mating prospects to be demeaning,’ and then they say ‘Fie, for shame! You call yourself Doorman!’
I’m not sure when this conversation went back to the fifteenth century — but, some of the thinking and things we do say sound Medieval. That’s why I’m helping humanity out with the Goldilocks Zone.
Don’t forget, the Universe is not attached to You.
Dear friends, let it be known that I recommend cycling. When you pedal along the smooth pavement, a calm breeze rippling through your hair, light dancing playfully off the water beside you, take comfort from the fact that at any moment a magpie or meteorite might swoop down and kill you where you ride.
Let the thought of this soothe you — that the Universe is totally non-attached to your existence. It sees no reason for it, but has just enabled it to happen. It can pull the curtain down at any point, and there probably won’t be any applause.
So while you’re puffing and heaving trying to build a legacy, big business, establish purpose, own a property before the age of thirty or find the love of your life, remember this…
Don’t be that fool riding on a bike wishing you had a car. Yes, cars go faster and there’s no rock hard seat sticking painfully into your arse — but, so long as each of us has a bike, we have all we need to go on a lovely adventure.
Some quick-fire notes on observing and using the Goldilocks Zone to cheat your way through life.
‘Love’ — I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘being in love’ — this Hollywood-like love is really attachment, neediness. One need not be indifferent toward one’s partner. But love is in the middle of the spectrum, it can only exist in the Goldilocks Zone. It’s the enjoyment of another’s companionship without needing it.
‘Career’ — Being too focused on one’s career seems comical at best, unethical at worst. Think of politicians, and how often they do what preserves their interests ahead of what’s right. But this does not mean avoiding careers altogether and at all possible costs — the Zone in the middle is the career that is a ride of joy, or a portfolio of work. Think a bike ride or art show, ahead of climbing lots of steps, and getting nothing but a sweaty arse-crack and sore legs for your troubles.
Creative Output — Trying too hard to organise things ends up ruining them. Many artists and writers use a bit of alcohol or drugs to loosen up their minds to produce their best work (not me, I already have too many advantages). No formula, no obsessive strategy — those who try too hard, do crap work. Creativity comes from the Goldilocks Zone. It’s more about getting in the zone, the flow state, than trying too hard to make work perfect or ‘think’ your way through it.
Planning — People who try too hard to plan things — their days, their businesses, their marketing, lives, careers, marriages, holidays — suck the fun, creativity, and surprise out of life, and it becomes counter-intuitive to the very purpose they were planning for. Having fun, having a good day, even positive business results… This isn’t to say ‘Avoid any possible concept of planning altogether!’ Just plan from the Goldilocks Zone.
Education and Learning — ask yourself the question. Why are you so desperate to improve and learn? The less your attachment to some ‘success’, the more effortless improvement is. Nothing’s more boring than over-structured podcast interviews or formulaic writing. Your attachment is the real obstacle to improvement, in that it blocks creative alternatives available now!
So don’t be a Voldemort… as soon as you’re out of the Goldilocks Zone, you’re not acting from love.
Seeking control is the precursor to seeking power, which is the path to ‘the Devil’ or, less dramatically, letting your ego run wild. That’s why Nature slaps us on the head when we try too hard to control things — like our finances, our ‘success’ and our relationships. Yes, you might obtain control, but what about the shit feeling in your gut?
It’s not that the Universe is against you — it’s that it’s trying to help you. It’s trying to stop a path of demise that ends with you becoming the scorn of humanity and losing your nose, like Voldemort, who wanted to live forever. Most earthly ambition is a disguised form of Voldemort-like desire. Don’t be a Voldemort.
Remember it this way… as soon as you leave the Goldilocks Zone, you are no longer coming from a place of love. What is worth doing, or is done best, that does not come from a place of love?
Thanks for reading — the Doorman Substack/Newsletter is below if you want to sign up — don’t know why you would, I barely send anything out except for really important updates.
I’ll be right back — just going to be a celibate priest, running away from money at all costs, and getting very determined about not setting any goals.