Struggling with the Shiny Object Syndrome motivated me to try to explain what it is as I see it, and offer some tips on how to overcome it.
What is it
First off, Shiny Object Syndrome is an unending quest for something new or different. Once one acquires the object they are chasing, their interest is lost and they begin the search for something else. This is an illness that preys on your inability to stay focused, and your susceptibility to being distracted by the desire or need for something novel such as a business venture, new idea, or innovation; then being attracted to another before seeing the current task to the end. This cycle keeps repeating itself as you spiral out of control. The end result is you are not able to complete anything and never get anything done. If allowed to continue unabated it can destroy your sense of self esteem, cause extreme distress, depressive disorders, and debilitate you. It can drain you of your energy, time, the ability to focus, and most important of all, your money.
The unique characteristics of the Shiny Object Syndrome makes entrepreneurs most vulnerable. Their greatest asset can be their greatest weakness because they aren’t afraid to venture out and take risks. Without realizing it they are suddenly chasing one innovative concept after another and never seeing it to fruition.
There is no magic pill for an easy cure. Unless you can afford thousands of dollars on therapy, And, how many of us can? Then our most reliable option to combat this problem is one that requires introspection, or self-examination. That is, it has to be realized from within and positive steps employed to stop it.
Some characteristics can be:
1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
2. Spending cash reserves, even going into debt.
3. Easily distracted.
4. Inability to focus on even the slightest things.
6. Stress and anxiety.
7. Sleep disorders.
9. Inability to finish planned tasks.
10. Never great at anything.
The list could go on and on, but the upshot is, it can be anything that disrupts your ability to see something through caused by repeating the compulsive action over and over again.
Suggestions to help overcome Shiny Object Syndrome
Foremost among these recommendations is to learn that new is not necessarily better. Before investing in any venture, know your limitations. Utilize critical insight, and don’t be afraid to rely on your instincts and intuition. Not every offer has to be taken. Allowing time to think about it thoroughly can help short circuit the impulse to buy on the spur of the moment. If you can, discuss this action with a friend or associate, get their insight, value it, and don’t be afraid to take a step back and reconsider. Stay calm, and don’t be afraid to go into a “holding pattern” until you are able to make an informed decision. If you can’t do this you may want to consider walking away to save you from future disappointment.
In the end, you have to do what you think is right. The trick is, once you realize you have an inclination towards this behavior you can start to make adjustments to override and neutralize it, thus realizing a more productive and rewarding future.
If inclined to go through with an undertaking, then stay committed. Don’t cast it aside or fail to follow through on your plans unless the situation changes enough to warrant taking a second look. Another reason can be a sudden need for extra funds not planned for.
Today, to keep a competitive edge, we must stay ahead of the curve and be aware of current trends in order to stay updated. But this does not mean you have to waste your time and resources going down the “rabbit hole” of endlessly chasing products or services. Let your rallying cry be: Do I really need this?
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