More Than a Productivity Killer: The Real Problem in Shiny Object Syndrome

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Every entrepreneur has fallen into the trap of shiny object syndrome. It’s easily unavoidable because the path towards it is so subtle. You go into your office with the sincere intention to focus on what you have to do that day, but then a quick look at an email newsletter shows you a booming business opportunity, so you find yourself stealing a couple of minutes to surf the web and know more about it. Without being completely aware, you’ve spent your entire morning watching online videos of talks, signing up to classes, and then talking to your business partner about such opportunity. You’ve gone deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. By the time that you end the day, you realize you haven’t done much in your to-do list. But the thing is, the shiny object syndrome isn’t just a killer of productivity. It goes deeper than that.

The Core Problem

The shiny object syndrome stalling your progress in business is just the tip of the iceberg. The bigger chunk of the problem is, you may not have guessed it, fear. Entrepreneurs chase after so many ideas and opportunities in the hopes of easing their anxieties. For instance, those who just jumped into the industry know well that new businesses fail in the first year. To dispel the fear of decline, you look then for booming business ideas, what’s trendy, what’s hot lately, so you’ll have a safety net just in case. In some instances, it’s the fear of not being good enough. You don’t know everything in the industry. You don’t have much experience yet. You question whether you’re doing things right. And so, you quickly latch on to tried-and-tested business opportunities, thinking that everything might go more smoothly on the other side of the fence.

What’s happening then is you allow fear and self-doubt to have a tight grip on you, feeding it even. At the same time, because you get sidetracked and you never get the opportunity to flourish in what you’ve started, you’re not able to prove your fears wrong.
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The Proper Fix

The simple solution for the shiny object syndrome may be cliche, but it’s still true: give yourself a little more faith in your capabilities and decisions. For sure, you didn’t pursue the clothing boutique or food franchise opportunities in a whim. You’ve thought them through and considered all the possibilities, like a failure, very carefully. If you’ve done your homework well, then it’s just a matter of trusting that your efforts will be rewarded eventually. That said, every once in a while, make it a habit to take an inventory of what you’ve accomplished so far. Remind yourself of the small wins, from sales peaks and growing customers down to happy employees. This will give you confidence in taking the next steps of going out of your comfort zone. More importantly, it will be easy for you to turn down ‘shiny’ ideas when they pop up in your social media feed or email. What’s the use of entertaining them when you know that what you have is already worthwhile? Worth every penny, energy, and effort? You need not look for satisfaction elsewhere.

Don’t Fall for the Shiny Object Trap

Are you vulnerable to the shiny object syndrome? It may be an indication of your fear and anxiety. Look within and try to see what’s bothering you exactly. Hopefully, from there, you’ll be able to dodge the shiny object trap.