MEMSPA Blog – 09/07/2017

#GlassFullLeader – Netflix and Reflect

I believe in the saying “you get what you pay for;” however, I am a bargain shopper.  I will shop for a “deal” or wait until something I really want is on sale. I am also NOT afraid to purchase items that are off brand, from consignment shops, rummage sales, or even dollar store deals… On the other hand, I do think that some things need to be a “certain” quality to perform their job, like, a pair of running shoes, a saddle for my horse, or a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

In terms of quantity, more of something is not necessarily better.  For example, I remember having a handful of channels on TV, or just a few selections of something to choose from such as a flavors of Coke. Now the choices are nearly unending.  When I have time to watch something, I can barely decide what to watch on Netflix with so many options, and the last time I stopped at Arby’s the new drink machine had more drink options than I can even remember.  To be fair, I realize that all of these options and choices are also a luxury.  So how does any of this connect to leadership and learning for students?  How do great deals, multiple choices and the instant gratification they provide us have any connection to leading and learning today?

Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger is the director of a 75 year Harvard study on “What Makes a Good Life.”  Dr. Waldinger asked the question: What keeps us happy and healthy? His study is one of the longest studies on record.  He looked at what led to success over time.  In a recent survey, he asked Millennial’s what would make them successful and happy.  They said that they wanted to be rich or famous. Dr. Waldinger adds that when the 75-year study subjects were asked 75 years ago, they said nearly the same thing; they wanted fame and wealth.  However, when he followed these individuals over 75 years of life and living, the ones that by far had the best health and the most happiness were the ones that leaned into relationships with family, friends and community. Dr. Waldinger expresses in his articles and TED talks “We all want a quick fix. Something we can get that will make our lives good and keep them that that way. Relationships are messy and they’re complicated. The hard work of tending to family and friends it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also life long, and it never ends.” For the individuals in the 75-year study, meaningful relationships made all the difference.

The “Quick fixes” do come in handy in our fast paced 21st Century lives and schools, but when I think about everything happening in our daily lives with bargain deals, unending choices and everything instantly at our fingertips I wonder; are these relationship enhancers? My first thought is.… Do we get what you pay for?… Dr. Waldinger’s Harvard study prompts me to pause and reflect on some of these aspects of our high paced lives. What is the value of these luxuries? At what costs do they really come? What truly matters most? I have been working on balance for years. This past year, I have learned more about mindfulness, social emotional learning, and growth mindset: I know I can do more to focus on relationships in day-to-day activities.  I’m certainly not asking any of us to give up Netflix or to stop being interested in the things that we believe make life a little easier or better.  For me it is a pledge to be more reflective, balanced, and focused on what matters. Instead of “getting what I pay for” I have plans to “Pay it Forward!”


  1. Incredible post with an incredible photo.

  2. Well written post. Reflection=personal growth

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