Pre­serv­ing your psy­cho­log­i­cal health and well­be­ing in an age of dig­i­tal in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion

In a world of im­me­di­acy and in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, it pays to re­mem­ber good things take time

Northern Rivers Style - - CONTENTS - SO­PHIE MOELLER

WHEN we re­ceived the coun­cil’s leaflet an­swer­ing “com­monly asked ques­tions” for own­ers of her­itage prop­er­ties ear­marked for list­ing, my ini­tial re­ac­tion was a warm glow of pride.

This felt like a pat on the back for not knock­ing down our 1920s weath­er­board cot­tage — like so many had — and do­ing a sym­pa­thetic ad­di­tion. We’d moved to the area be­cause of its char­ac­ter so hadn’t wanted to raise lo­cal his­tory in favour of a turn-of-the-cen­tury Mc­man­sion makeover.

But here’s the rub — we’ve also been con­sid­er­ing putting the house on the mar­ket. My hus­band’s ini­tial re­ac­tion was: “That’s gonna make it al­most im­pos­si­ble to sell.”

“Yes but we (as in so­ci­ety) are go­ing to be so much prouder and richer in the long run,” I replied al­tru­is­ti­cally.

In­wardly, I was dis­ap­pointed. I knew he was prob­a­bly right — in the short term, we were screwed.

So what makes any­thing worth want­ing? I got think­ing about the sub­ject of brand­ing.

Nine­teenth cen­tury philoso­pher Wil­liam James, brother of lit­er­ary gi­ant Henry, wrote “pur­suit of pur­pose over profit ... would only ever be ap­pre­ci­ated in hind­sight”.

If I had a brand, what would it look like, how would it last? I thought about en­dur­ing brands such as Burberry or, in the Aus­tralian con­text, RM Wil­liams and, in­deed, the very cor­po­ra­tion for which I work. It’s the his­tory that gives these names ca­chet.

They don’t have to rein­vent any­thing, they just have to keep on refin­ing what they do. Longevity al­ready pro­vides an in­her­ent as­so­ci­a­tion with qual­ity.

Jour­nal­ist and au­thor Mal­colm Glad­well ob­serves our brands are “the sum to­tal of all those highly in­di­vid­u­alised choices that we make about the ma­te­rial con­tent of our lives”.

It is true over time you be­come the sum of a lot of things — school­ing, ca­reer choice, where you live, the courage of your con­vic­tions.

Brain­pick­ings is an on­line grab-bag of eclec­tic in­for­ma­tion that dis­cusses the way in which our cul­ture wor­ships at the al­tar of im­me­di­acy and in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

“We con­tinue to ro­man­ti­cise the largely mythic no­tion of the overnight suc­cess, over­look­ing the years of strug­gle and fail­ure that paved the way for some of hu­man­ity’s most ad­mired and ac­com­plished lu­mi­nar­ies,” cre­ator Maria Popova said.

She gives Da Vinci, Tchaikovsky, Marie Curie and Stephen King as ex­am­ples of those who have per­se­vered to end up as cel­e­brated ge­niuses as op­posed to those who “throw in the towel and sink into ob­scu­rity”.

“Like a flower in blos­som,” Popova said, in a blog about the seven things she had learned about read­ing, writ­ing and life, “the real magic un­folds in the mak­ing of one’s char­ac­ter and destiny.”

She also quotes her part­ner, de­sign vi­sion­ary Deb­bie Mill­man: “Ex­pect any­thing worth­while to take a long time.”

It is all about the Long Game.

In this so­cial me­dia age of “sen­sa­tion” and “send” I grap­ple with the con­stant red flags buzzing across my own net­works.

It is one thing to make mis­takes about your in­tegrity but your brand, in the Long Game, in­volves sen­si­ble de­ci­sions about how we adapt to the in­ter­net’s vo­ra­cious­ness.

“Think twice about what you put up there, my dar­ling,” I hear my­self say­ing to the kids – a lot.

“Try and leap-frog over this mo­ment. In five years your per­spec­tive will change more than you know. Do you re­ally want your fu­ture de­ci­sions pred­i­cated on the skele­tons you have recorded in dig­i­tal pur­ga­tory?”

Much bet­ter to be think­ing about the parts of your­self you’d her­itage list.

The real magic un­folds in the mak­ing of one’s char­ac­ter and destiny.

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