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Do You Have Shiny New Object Syndrome?

First posted on Medium at https://medium.com/@trish_39797/do-you-have-shiny-new-object-syndrome-b783c38281f8

Shiny Objects

I’ve just finished reading Shaunta Grimes medium post titled “Three Ways to Combat Shiny New Things Syndrome – Because You Actually Do Need to Finish What You Start”.

This really gels with me because I, too am a good starter of new things but not a very good finisher and can sometimes get stuck early in Act II, which is pretty pathetic when you think about it. The only positive I can console myself with is that I find new ideas that have huge potential easily & often, I just need to learn how to pick one, set a goal for that one and stick with it till I reach that goal. Perhaps then that “thing” can become part-time or secondary while I explore a new shiny object. Rinse & repeat, as they say.

And even though Shaunta is a writer and her shiny new things were probably new subjects to write about, her strategies apply equally to anybody whose shining new things could be jobs or hobbies, sports or self-development courses, anything at all that they like to do or learn about. For me it’s usually some new software for graphics & animation or some new plan for making money.

The Cost of Shiny New Things/Objects Syndrome

Chasing shiny new things can be expensive for three reasons. Firstly, because if you only just start out all the time and never finish, you never get to the stage of getting any return on your investment, only the expenses.

The second cost is time and I believe it is an even higher cost than wasting money by not finishing things. You can always get more money somehow, but no-one can buy time. 24 hours a day for however long we live is what we all get equally and it’s all we can ever have. Lost time cannot ever be replaced & that makes time the most precious resource any of us have in life.

The third cost is lack of self-worth. You look on yourself as a failure and let’s be honest, you are a failure with regard to not reaching your goals, but it tends to take over your thoughts about yourself and you can start to think of yourself as a failure overall, just like a boy whose autocratic father, on receiving his son’s report card with 3 A’s & 2 B’s but one D in the father’s field of expertise, then calling his son a dunce and a failure.

Looking Back

Photo by Riccardo Mion on Unsplash

Having reached my 70’s, I look back and can say that I’ve had a very interesting life with highlights like offshore sailing, flying a light plane for several years, jumping out of one at 10,000 feet, with a parachute of course since I’m alive and writing this!

But what I haven’t got is financial security in my senior years for various reasons, some not under my direct control, but nevertheless, the decisions I’ve made in the past have created the situation I’m now in.

Looking back, it’s easy to see where I didn’t spend money wisely, didn’t finish some of the training paid for and started but not finished; wasted time learning things that would have more efficiently been outsourced to someone already experienced in that field (but it was interesting learning these new things!).

Being Disciplined

Being brutally honest with myself, I lacked self-discipline for many of my years and still do to a lesser extent. The strategies I use now are a lot like those in Shaunta’s article and I list them here as it may be a useful guide to others in their quest to defeat the “Shiny”syndrome.

1. Expectations?—?set some for each day. Whatever your current project is, make a commitment to move forward in some measurable way. I like to write down a list either at night or first thing in the morning of what I want to achieve each day. My daily commitments go on that list as well as meetings & reminders so I don’t forget them.

2. Start each day with a positive mindset and when I say start, I mean before you get out of bed make a conscious decision to have a good day. Perhaps you don’t believe it, but your attitude to everything that happens to you is your choice. Things that happen are often not your choice, but how you think about them is. Waking up and saying to yourself “It’s Monday. I hate my work” is not going to result in the happiest or most productive day.

Shaunta says not to let your inner critic take over. For me this means that if I start feeling like I’m a failure, I take my mind on a brief journey remembering my successes and things I’m good at. We’re all good at something, so find yours. They don’t need to be huge, even something simple like being friendly and making people smile can have a more positive effect than you’ll ever know.

3. Be accountable to someone.

You’ll probably hate this idea; I always resisted and have only recently agreed to do this with someone I know well, but I believe it will help me to stop getting side-tracked by some of my interests. We can still have interests, so long as we keep doing our current project for the committed time each day.

4. Write down the Shiny New Things that come to you.

Even though you’re not going to follow them immediately, keep a record of your ideas because you might need them later, or some of them anyway. Knowing you have them stored safely for the future lets you free your mind to focus on your current project.

I’m not saying I’ve totally overcome my desire to keep trying new things straight away, because I haven’t, but I’m better at focusing on the task at hand now and since time is running out, it’s really now or never for me.

Two Small Sentences that Eased My Trepidation

When you need Encouragement

Trepidation-Uncertainty

 

I’ve just read Alex Mathers article “What I learned writing thirty self-development articles in thirty days”, and as a newbie on Medium with the goal of writing every day, I was encouraged by what he had to say.

 

Two sentences stood out for me; the first was:

Being OK

 

“We must be OK with the idea that some of our work will be ignored or disliked.”

This was timely advice for me because I’d been spending so much time on each article that it was turning into a real drag, instead of something I’d hoped to enjoy and be stimulated by. You’d think, being in my senior years now, that I’d have understood this concept pretty well by now and I do, in other areas of my life, but this is the first time I’ve really put my writing “out there” and so there’s this tendency to be self-conscious and want perfection (never achieved of course) but still aimed at.

Alex’s other sentence that jumped out at me was:

Show Up

Showing up will show the world you mean business, but it?—?more importantly?—?will show yourself what you are capable of.”

Now that was just what I wanted to hear; it doesn’t matter if anyone reads my stuff or not, I’m writing for myself and to see what happens. Self-growth of some kind must occur!

A Mother’s Expectations Causing Conflict

My mother was an intelligent woman and had been a bright student at school, good with language and with figures so one of her teachers was encouraging her to be an accountant or a teacher herself.

Now, this was back in 1938, a time when young women were expected to obey their father’s will and my grandfather had the usual belief of the time, that education was wasted on females. So much to her horror and despite many arguments and appeals, my poor mother was taken out of school at age 14 and put to work in a factory doing piecework (sewing cut-out fabric pieces to make garments).

We must understand the times, my grandfather was a caring person and didn’t do this to punish mum, but to give her what he thought was a good start in life by earning some money to fill her glory box. In those days it was up to young girls to get their household linen and clothing ready in anticipation of a married life; working families could not afford that expense on the pay that one man earned.

Mum had to make the best of it and she became a very skilled seamstress, but later when she married, she was very determined that ALL her children would get a good education. And so, we did, but unfortunately, we were pressured into the careers mum had wanted in her own youth.

Most of us had a different preference, I know my youngest sister wanted to stay on the farm, but “girls can’t be farmers” said our parents. When I left school, I had visions of working in the radio station in the technical area, (not an announcer) but mum vetoed that because it was shift-work and deemed not suitable for a girl my age (I was nearly 18 by then for goodness sake?—?what didn’t I fight harder?)

Mother-Daughter-Argument

Conflict in the form of rebellion or arguments from children in those days very often resulted in a lick of the strap, which was fairly effective in getting kids to toe the line, but I feel we were luckier than many of our friends in that we were listened to in family discussion time. Even so, we all felt it was more about making us understand why we were being pushed in certain directions as the pressure remained and we became a family of three long-term teachers and one short-term one, me.

It wasn’t a bad result for any of us really, just not our first choice but in later years mum admitted that the real truth behind these denials of our choices was in fact that mum wanted us all to have a tertiary education, what she’d longed for and been denied in her own youth.

Thank you, Mum.

Thank You

My OFA Origin Story

I am doing Russell Brunson’s One Funnel Away Challenge at the moment and the mission this week is to become a publisher – we have a choice to Make Live videos on facebook or Instagram, publish podcasts or write posts on medium.com every day for a year!! – I have chosen to write & here is an extract from my first story.

Trish & Lesley New Zealand HNov 2017In 1993, at the age of 46, I left my home in the north of Western Australia to move to the Eastern States of Australia where most of my new husband’s family lived. We were both in a good financial position & I was looking forward to having a nice home where it wasn’t so hot and starting a home business. We settled in South East QLD, buying an abandoned crayfish farm because Stu wanted to try aquaculture.

What started out as an exciting new venture turned sour in just a few years when we ran out of money and all the hours of physical labour, trial & error, study and plain hard work felt like a complete waste of time & effort to me. We’d tried to sell several times, but each sale fell though, leaving me frustrated at my husband’s expectations & it was hard to keep a good relationship going when we had such different views of what was important.

See full story here: https://link.medium.com/OY9eBdoqVT?fbclid=IwAR09loPiwRInefoGc15JUtTIquvXy5F7vLBzBhXzW7cr2LhMxnivgiHUkZQ

 

 

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