It’s what happens when short-term investments distract us from long-term success. It’s instant gratification over sustained happiness. It’s when our meaningful work is sidetracked by something menial.
Of course, like any condition, the first step to overcoming the shiny object syndrome is to acknowledge it’s there.
- Are you constantly starting but not finishing projects?
- Are you always searching for something that is lost?
- Are you continually burning through resources?
How to overcome the shiny object syndrome:
- Wherever you lack internal discipline, set external restraints. Just like an alarm clock helps you wake up in the morning, have someone or something help you stay on track.
- Think big picture. What does the return on your investment look like 5, 10 years from now?
- Use the 80/20 rule. Also known as the Pareto principle, this rule states that 80% of the effects will come from 20% of the causes. Which is to say that not every risk carries equal significance. Usually, the fewer, larger items will generate the most noteworthy results.
The good news is, the shiny object syndrome is a choice. You can choose what does or doesn’t distract you. Pay attention to the distractions in your life and exert the necessary emotional labor to ignore them. As with most things, consistency is key.