“Everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – – Albert Einstein

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Copyright © 2021 Santiago Barragan Noguera. All rights reserved.

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Managing the tension between your present self and your future self requires thoughtful design

 Through the concept of delayed gratification, the present self shows how much one cares for the future self.

Getting fit, working towards that law degree, saving money rather than buying unnecessary stuff are all forms of delayed gratification: “I do the effort now so that my future self is rewarded.” 

People sometimes neglect the future self by choosing the reward today with no effort. Instagram, Netflix, cocaine, chocolate cake, sex are all forms of instant gratification.  

What is not conceived is that later on, the future self has to pay for those decisions. It isn’t the consequences of the bad choices themselves (although those can be crushing), but primarily because of the later regret of the unexplored potential, the things you never did. The person you never became. The dreams that never came alive.

You either get the pain from experience:

  • Waking up early.
  • Choosing better nutrition.
  • Reading that book.
  • Building that company.
  • Doing the unattractive things that keep your relationships strong.

Or later for the regret… either way, you eventually have the pain.

You don’t want to be the cocaine addict or the obsessive consumer who jumps from one shiny object to the next in search of more dopamine. Such a pathway will never fulfill you inside. 

On the other hand, taking life too seriously by assuming too much responsibility (for the benefit of the future self) can distract you from spending enough time with loved ones and losing sensibility and appreciation for ordinary things. What if you die before accomplishing that which you craved so severely? What if you realize, after you receive the Nobel prize, that you hate every single bit of your life and your work?

The art of managing this tension is like walking on a tight rope. Too much weight on either side, and you will fall to the cliff. In brief, how much responsibility should you assume today? You might find a clue looking in the mirror.

With all love,

Santiago Barragan Noguera

Coach & Educator — Artistic Polymath

Copyright © 2021 Santiago Barragan Noguera. All rights reserved.