Objectivius Shinium Syndromus or “Shiny Object Syndrome” (SOS) is the tendency to let a new idea or concept or venture capture your imagination to a degree that you lose focus on your original goal and invest an inordinate amount of time and energy to the detriment of your primary mission.
Shiny Object Syndrome, sometimes called Bright Shiny Object (BSO), is often the triumph of flash over substance, of sizzle over steak. It’s usually fun and exciting starting something new but sooner or later the honeymoon ends and the gloss wears off the Bright Shiny Object and it becomes just one more dull, boring task on your to do list.
An example from my business: We do new development in addition to owning and managing apartments. New development is exciting, fresh and cutting edge, a classic BSO. Development can be profitable but is also rather risky and it is our existing portfolio (much, much larger) that provides our stable cash flow and the capital we need to grow, and a 1% improvement in the existing portfolio’s bottom line will create more prosperity than any one new development. However, to some, working on improving systems, training, and bettering basic blocking and tackling lacks the luster of a BSO even though it is a better risk-adjusted business proposition.
The cure for the Shiny Object Syndrome is laser-like focus on your goal, your overriding purpose. Will this BSO move you closer to that goal? Faster, surer than what you are working on now? Do you have the time, the energy, and the resources to FULLY commit to this new project? To implement it AND to maintain it? If you say yes, what will you be saying no to? i.e. what will have to drop off your radar screen or be postponed taking this on? Are you willing to push through the inevitable pain? The doldrums that hit every project sooner or later?
“I was about to take over the world, but then I saw something shiny.” – Unknown
“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder b. 1964 as Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen to a 17 year old high school student, adopted at age 4 by his mother’s 2nd husband, Miguel “Mike” Bezos, a Cuban immigrant. On March 6, 2018, Forbes designated Bezos the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $112 billion, making him the first centi-billionaire on the wealth index.
“Sometimes you think you’ve found love, when it’s really just one of those objects that are shiny in a certain light– glass shards, maybe. You’ve got to be careful, you do. The shine can blind you. The edges can cut you in way you never imagined.” – Deb Caletti,b. 1963, National Book Award finalist
“That’s a big part of the process: making the right choice from the beginning. Not getting distracted by shiny things.” – Marti Noxon, b. 1964, executive producer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier