The shiny new object cycle

Shiny New Object SyndromeDo you get the thrill of chasing shiny new objects, too?

One day you are full-on enthusiastic about an idea and run with it 110%, thinking ‘Yes! This is THE ONE!’ And then a twinkle on the horizon catches your attention and you drop your shiny object and go racing after the new one, driven like the good little bower bird you are?

I am exactly like THAT bower bird. I collect exciting new ideas, one after the other. I call it the ‘Shiny New Object Syndrome‘ or SNOS for short. It’s a perpetual cycle of racing from one great idea to the next without finishing the first and then quickly moving on again to the next shiny new thing. From ideas for a new novel to revolutionary business ideas, SNOS manifests itself in many forms.

It’s a pattern of behaviour I’ve identified in myself and it’s not an endearing trait.

The more I learn about SNOS, the less I like it. It’s confronting.

Recognising when SNOS strikes

In July last year I met my new BFF Natalie online while doing ProBlogger’s ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge. We decided to become accountability partners and then found out we lived a few streets away from each other in the same suburb. Village internet.

Natalie has become much more than an accountability partner (I highly recommend finding one if you haven’t already) she’s become my business confidante, a trusted friend and has witnessed me chasing the endless stream of shiny new objects I’ve chased in the past year and a bit. We share a laugh every time I skulk back from my shiny new object chase, empty-handed and with my head down and vowing to stick with what I know best – typical San behaviour. What was I thinking?

But, I have started to a see a new pattern emerge. The shiny new object has become less enthralling. I still feel the pull, I can’t always deny the chase, but I am much quicker to recognise when SNOS is beckoning me and I am conditioning myself to return to these basics:

  • Who am I?
  • What am I good at?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • Who can I best serve?


The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He nails Shiny New Object Syndrome.I started reading ‘The War of Art‘ by Steven Pressfield this week. The book is about is about living a more creative life and choosing to find your human potential in the creative endeavour that you are drawn to – writing, art, entrepreneurship.

He nails the reasons behind SNOS in the first few pages. He calls SNOS, Resistance. With a Capital R.  Reading this book was one of those defining moments where I recognised my Shiny New Object Syndrome so clearly in what he described:

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify, seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as you turn your back. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

Wow! Confronting, much?

(By the way, I had to look up ‘protean’. It means ‘tending or able to change frequently or easily’ in case you don’t know, too.)

SNOS is Resistance. Resistance is fear. It’s that force of energy that diverts us from doing our true calling, our true ‘work’. I am a storyteller with a hard drive full of unfinished novels because I’ve allowed Resistance to perjure, fabricate, seduce, bully and cajole me into chasing shiny new objects.

My fabulous creative writing coach Shaunta Grimes has an actional list of ideas for overcoming SNOS. I won’t repeat them here, but check them out if you’re feeling the pull towards a shiny new object.

While I haven’t defeated SNOS and never completely will, recognising it for what it is, has given me a sense of power over it.

Now, it’s time to get on with Chapter Two of ‘The Verge of Summer’. Move over Resistance, you’re blocking my view of Scrivener.

How about you? Do you recognise Resistance in your life, diverting you away from your true creative calling?

How to overcome Shiny New Object Syndrome

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