Shiny Object Syndrome

On the internet, ‘shiny objects’ are not literally shiny, but they promise so much and are just as distracting as a shiny bauble. Almost all internet activity will put glowing new offers in front of you, all the time.

They will all promise to be better than the others, and if you are working on something, you might get the idea that they are better than what you are doing. It is so easy to get distracted and abandon what you are doing, to go chasing the new offer.

This can happen:

Instead of steady progress, you keep starting again if you are distracted by shiny objects.

It’s time for a reality check

Some questions you could ask:

  1. Will this genuinely assist my project?
  2. Might it lead to me abandoning my project?
  3. Could I achieve something similar to this shiny thing without having to buy it?
  4. How much have I spent on ‘great new things’ lately and how many of them are really useful to me?
  5. What is the difference between a Need and a Want, and which one is this?
  6. Deep down, do I need to admit that I’m being distracted and blaming factors outside myself?
  7. Would hard work on my project and consistency achieve just as well as this new thing?
  8. Am I fully committed to my project?

Shiny new objects are not always bad.

  1. The world changes, and new ideas can be good ones.
  2. If you need something, have a plan for what it is, and how you will get it before you see an ad for a shiny object. If you’re not prepared, shiny things might trick you by looking like what you need.
  3. If something isn’t working, and you know the sort of remedy you need, you’ll be alert for the occasion when you find it.
  4. If the cost in time and money is small, it might be worth a look at the new thing.
  5. Have a plan and goals, and commit to them.

By now you should be able to work out if this is just a Shiny New Object or something of real value that is what you need.

What to do about Shiny Object Syndrome

  1. Be disciplined. That might not be easy, but if you acknowledge that the shiny objects are out there and are a danger, you can be prepared and forewarned about them. Meet them with a resistant attitude.
  2. Overwhelm. There are so many offers around, you could mount all your defenses and then go seeking them. This guy makes $50k every day, that one made $1 million, another makes thousands every hour while he sleeps. You can do this in 2 hours work a day, that is 20 minutes a day, that one in 2 minutes. Yada Yada. Soon you will become detached from all the hype and your resistance will become strong.
  3. Have a plan. Decide what you need and create a plan for the things you are going to buy and when. Prioritize and write it all down. If something comes along that doesn’t fit with your plan, or that doesn’t actually meet the needs you have identified in your plan – it has no value for you. You can resist.
  4. Be flexible. This isn’t to say you can’t be open to a great opportunity, or a purchase that takes very few of your resources.
  5. Remember your time is a resource. Getting to grips with a new shiny object takes not only money, but time, and time = money. So budget your time and resist spending your valuable time on something that *might be* better than what you already have.

Use good judgment

  1. There are times when you should change direction, and (probably more) times when you shouldn’t. Good judgment will be able to tell the difference.
  2. Write down pros and cons. Evaluate and be impartial and rational. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
  3. Still not sure? Do you have mentors or wise people you can discuss it with? Verbalizing the issues might clarify matters for you. Other people might be able to spot that you are yet again chasing something shiny, or that you are onto a good idea.
  4. Give it some time. Is there really urgency? Will more offers like this come along again and again?
  5. Research.  Is this shiny thing just one of many that are all over the internet? Maybe it’s not so special…