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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.

How often do you think about your thoughts?

Everything we are, arises with our thoughts. Buddha is believed to have said this thousands of years ago, but it is not original, the concept is also found in the Bible, in Hindu sacred literature and is fundamental to most of the world’s religions.

The problem for most of us is that thoughts just come into our head without us doing anything to put them there in much the same way that our heart beats without us having to think about it. These are often referred to as automatic thoughts and a lot of the time they are negative, even though we don’t realise it, and we are thinking and worrying about things in the past or in the future, stressing out over things we have no control over and that may be highly unlikely to ever happen anyway. Sometimes, these thoughts in our mind seem to be going around and around to such an extent that we feel overwhelmed because we don’t know how to turn them off.

So, the important question really is “can we control our thoughts and focus only on the thoughts that we believe are important to us and let all the others go by?

The good news is that we can. William James, one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism, said The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

Of course, although we have the ability to choose which thoughts to focus on, we have to train our mind to filter out probably 99% of our thoughts as they are not useful.

Thinking

Learning to Train Your Mind

A good way to start is to practice what has become known as mindfulness, the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment?—?and accepting it without judgement. Scientific studies of mindfulness have found it to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioural therapy, which makes makes good sense, since meditation and this therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, dysfunctional, and self-defeating thoughts.

There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, and a web search will bring up many options such as joining a yoga group or daily meditation. But if you want to get started on your own, here’s the method I learned about 15 years ago and it has worked well for me.

Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place and relax your body

Woman Resting

Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.

 

Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus and become aware of sounds, sensations and the thoughts passing through your mind

Accept each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race or to wander, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

Once you learn to focus your thoughts this way, you can change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Perhaps you dread going to the dentist yet have an appointment coming up and your thought is “I have to go to the dentist”. Consider this thought and realise that when we say we “have to” do something we are dis-empowering ourselves, making ourselves the victim of what we must do. Experiment with using a different word, such as “I plan to go to the dentist” and repeat this new sentence a few times and see if you feel a subtle difference in your mind and body. Now, make another change to your sentences such as, “I choose to go to the dentist” and notice the difference you feel. Once again, change your sentence to something really positive like, “I really appreciate the benefits of going to the dentist and getting my teeth fixed up” and realise that it is true, you really do feel better after your dentist has finished working on your teeth.

Now that you understand the process, use it on other limiting thoughts you have, such as:

I don’t like meeting new people
I’m terrified of having to speak in public
I’ll never lose weight
I hate my job

You Are In Control

You Are In control of Your Life

With time and practice your thoughts will become more positive and more empowering. Unconscious thoughts will still occur naturally but it’s up to you to monitor them and control the quality of your thinking.

You are the master of your thoughts and the creator of your life. You are always in control even if you make poor choices!

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking”. ? William James

Control your thoughts and everything will be under your control.” ? Debasish Mridha

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!

Seniors Using the Internet – Beginner’s Guide

Oliver Kyte has sent me a link to a great resource – Using the Internet for Seniors Beginners Guide that you can find here

https://cheekymunkey.co.uk/using-the-internet-for-seniors-beginners-guide/

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

The internet offers a wealth of opportunity for staying in touch with family and friends; gathering helpful information, even paying bills and shopping from the comfort of your own home. If you have never used the internet before it can seem daunting but once you take small steps you will find it is much more accessible than you might first believe.

Do Not Be Too Comfortable In Your Comfort Zone!

This article has excellent advice for people trying to do better at anything, including business.

Image from https://www.brunohe.com/storylogue/august-2018/

Everyone has a comfort zone, one which we very often prefer not to step outside of because it makes us feel… well uncomfortable (of course). But what if we stay there all the time? Do we develop? Do we grow as individuals?

Bruno asks us these questions…

Have you ever wondered if your comfort zone is your friend or an enemy?
Is it good or bad?
Does it bring anything positive, or keeps you chained and stops you from achieving greatness in your life?

See the full article here https://www.brunohe.com/storylogue/august-2018/

Editing Note – This Article no longer exists.