How instant gratification is killing legacy creation

It’s time to talk about instant gratification and the impact this is having on those who are seeking to create a legacy.

You may or may not know this about me, but in case you don’t, I love an underdog and especially the underdog when it comes to property.

My husband Mr P and I, are on our second full property renovation which is now completed, the home is sold and we are looking for what is our next project.

When you are looking at a property to renovate, it’s as much about unburdening yourself of your ego and your limitations and seeing the beauty of the masterpiece property within.

And when looking at property to renovate I get nervous, because it isn’t about the sale or profit.  It’s about creating something that could have a lasting impact on future families who give the home a new soul and memories.

Because of this when I look at a property, fear is always with me.

Fear if can we create the vision that I see in my mind.

The fear of whether the existing soul of the property will evolve as the property does.

And fear of being in service to the property and not fear being of service to my ego.

If I do my work well, then the renovation of the property can outlive me, and maybe just maybe, it can bring joy and be a home for not just the new owners, but for the community and wider world at large.

That’s the motivation for property renovation that keeps me going.

And somewhere along the way a property makes a magic transition from neglected walls and space, to where it becomes a home and a canvas for people to capture new memories, and a living work of art.

And yet there is still another part of this journey, that when a renovation becomes more than a piece of art, and long after my involvement has been completed, it becomes a legacy for future beings to imprint their soul onto.

In our renovation that is being sold, I sometimes look at the kitchen-diner, which was originally two rooms, with a typical 1960's hatch in between.

Now a glorious open space in between, after removing a load bearing wall and opening the energy of these two rooms up to become one big space of cooking, socializing, and love

From the original yellow 60's Formica cabinets to the modern dark wood fixtures, each piece imprinted with the laughter and voices that have held audience within these spaces.

And what will the next family add to the soul of these rooms?

You see I believe that property renovation can carry a powerful message when we consider legacy.

Are you looking for a disposable fix to make you feel good in the shortest time possible, such as buying an imitation print from Ikea to implementing a 30 minute make-over hack to your walls?

Or are you looking to slow down and create something that has a soul, has depth, and has a legacy that transcends you.

A legacy that isn’t linear with a predicted path, but rather cyclical in its approach, for you never know when the hardships and work of today become the wisdom of the future.

So my question to you if you think of the present as a stewardship for the future, how are you using that stewardship?

Are you seeking the instant gratification that the present-day you feels drawn to?

And if you are a yes, be kind to yourself, as instant gratification bias is something that is becoming more predominant with the evolution of social media, online shopping, and shorter to almost no time to taking a gratifying action.

Consider 40 years ago if you wanted to arrange food for dinner, you would have

  • to decide to,
  • get ready to leave the house,
  • take a bag with you
  • drive or walk, or bus to a shop
  • locate what you want
  • have the cash on hand or have been to a bank to get it
  • paid using cash and have the change counted back to you
  • pack your food
  • walk or drive back home
  • unpack it being careful to put perishables nearer the top
  • and then cook dinner

What do we do in the world today:

  • I want some dinner
  • Load up app
  • Find nearest & quickest option
  • Hit pay (as payment details saved)
  • Food arrives
  • Eat

Now that is making it a much shorter exercise, but you get my point.

So why do we crave short-term instant gratification rather than delaying long-term legacy building?

Psychologist Hesmat in 2016 postulates why it is so difficult to avoid the instant gratification urge:

  1. Self Denial – the desire to avoid a delay is strong and engaging in self-denial requires all of our unnatural instincts. Think self-denial of that chocolate snack instead of your long term health
  2. Uncertainty – especially during and post-pandemic, we because less sure of the reliability of others and our future. This causes us to value the less beneficial but certain pleasure of immediate gratification.
  3. Age – younger people have a tendency to be more impulsive and the older we get we are better equipped to delay our urges
  4. Imagination – now I love this one as imagination as a skill is something that I work on with my private clients. In order to choose delayed gratification, you require the ability to imagine your desired future with such strong emotion that it outweighs your current desired pleasure state.
  5. Emotion regulation – we all have individual differences in emotion regulation that impacts our tendency towards instant vs delayed gratification. The higher the emotive distress it can make us lean towards choices that will improve our mood immediately
  6. Anticipation – generally as humans we enjoy the anticipation of positive things and dislike anticipation of negative things, which means it can lead us to decisions to put things off or to engage in them as quickly as possible to seek pleasure or avoid discomfort.

Now think of these 6 in terms of building a legacy rather than instant gratification.

Where in your life as you create your legacy have you engaged in self-denial on the road to legacy building, rather than sought instant pleasure?

As you are building your legacy where have looked to engage in instant gratification as the uncertainty of the legacy you desire to build, during or post-pandemic, seems to be too high?

Where have you indulged your impulsive tendencies which are in conflict to the legacy you proclaim to want to build?

Do you know and can you feel into the legacy you are building in your imagination?  Can you vividly dream of that legacy, describe it to me in beautiful technicolor?  Or does it feel distant and abstract to you?

If you are building your dream legacy right now, how are you regulating emotionally when bumps in the road happen? Do they derail you from your legacy? Or do you have techniques for emotion regulation that is separate from your legacy?

And are you excitedly anticipating creating your legacy? Can you connect to that feeling or does the displeasure of your current life override the future legacy?

All of these are interesting, right?

And I’d love to hear your answers.

Coming back to the renovation properties, which you will know if you have renovated any property before, it certainly isn’t an instant gratification process.

I would estimate 85% of a property renovation feels like discomfort, uncertainty and requires self-denial, because it often gets messy before the beauty within is revealed.

It is only in the last 15 % that years of delayed gratification work are revealed.

Take a moment and think about how much instant gratification and pleasure are derailing you from your legacy?  And how much they are providing to be the subject of frustration in your life that may be manifesting in the present day.

When you’re ready to explore your legacysuccess, and impact on the world, here are ways to start the journey: 

Wielding Legacy – weekly audio insights from Laura to help you build a legacy for yourself and your family.

If you are looking to create a hugely impactful legacy, my one-to-one success coaching will change everything. Contact me to arrange a call to discuss how I can help you.  

Or if you are a coach/ mentor or consultant a private accelerator day and 30 days of support, can be the ideal tonic to kick start your legacy creation.


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