The Head's Tales: Focusing on What Matters Most

As many of you are aware, I am an avid reader.  I am often influenced by what I am reading, and always try to connect the lessons, experiences, or different perspectives expressed in these books to what we are attempting to achieve at St. Margaret’s.  Sometimes, it is a stretch but I always strive to find a connection that resonates with our learning journey, and constantly seek out ideas and guiding principles that will help us focus on the right things for the right reasons.  Hence, my eclectic reading selections keep me thinking and stretching as a learner. I believe that curiosity on many fronts and in many disciplines keeps us active and engaged in the surrounding world.

I have just finished reading a book entitled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  I remember seeing this book on the store shelf and chuckling about the title, the fact that the book had sold over 3 million copies, and was a #1 New York Times Best Seller!  My first thought was that the reading level and interests of the general public had hit an “all time low,” although I was also intrigued with the fact that someone could make such a mundane topic a best seller.  In my opinion, that certainly took a lot of creative thought and boldness to believe that there was an audience who would welcome the advice offered by this “guru of tidiness.”  Ultimately, I was hooked and determined to see if the accolades were deserved.

The premise of the book is “putting your space into order in a way that will change your life forever.”  That is a strong statement but when you think about this from a broader perspective, the ability to discard those things that prevent you from achieving your goals (including those distractors that shift your focus or stop you from dealing with the important), and the entire book begins to make really good sense.  Using the theme of tidying up your space to develop the self-discipline to sort, organize, and put things away can be an empowering proposition as it relates to helping you identify goals, set priorities, and get into the right mindset to create your own sense of order.  In an effort to connect the suggestions provided in this book to the goals of our school community, here are my takeaways that I think would be of use to our girls in developing a calm and motivated mindset that allows for growth and a sense of accomplishment.

  1.  Accrue only those possessions that will help you achieve your goals, not clutter your priorities.
  2.  Simplify your space and priorities leaving you open for possibilities, rather than closed off by limitations.
  3.  Surround yourself with only those things that have personal significance.
  4.  Create an environment that allows you to pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy and purpose in life.
  5.  Recognize that the things and people you choose to surround yourself with will affect your overall well-being.
  6.  Realize that real growth is affected by our attachments to our past and our anxiety about the future.

So… in the spirit of innovation, Ms. Kondo has demonstrated one of the key components of a growth mindset with her ability to spot unmet needs as well as create a niche for future demand of her expertise and passion.  That is a great lesson for our girls in light of the significance of “creating your future today”!

Suggested Reading:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Marie Kondo. 2014

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