S.O.S. Shiny Object Syndrome

Shiva, an active four-year-old English Pointer, was playing his favourite game, Fetch, with Katie, his guardian. They were in the park. There were other dogs playing a similar game. Katie had his favourite pink soft frisbee. It had been his Christmas present last year and immediately became his favourite toy, his immediate go-to when he desires comfort. Katie threw it far and wide. Shiva immediately ran after it. Despite various toys and balls flying around him as well, Shiva ran straight like an arrow towards his toy. He did not get distracted by the other objects. His eyes had zoomed in to his goal and all distractions were simply cancelled, like a horse with blinkers. He retrieved his prize in a flash and brought it back to Katie.

Have ever decided to do something and got distracted along the way? Perhaps (finally) you had decided to clear out the cupboard for the much-needed storage space but found something that distracted you (like an old diary and you decided to read it instead). Or just walking into a room to get something but someone spoke to you and you completely forgot what you wanted to get. Maybe, it was something specific you wanted from the menu but ordered something else instead because it looked better or there was an offer on it? I know I have!

Life is full of choices (which could be distractions). The examples mentioned above are just simple day to day events that are usually frivolous. Some decisions you make carry more weight. Some goals you pursue can literally change your lives. Examples would include your relationships, professional lives and business ventures.

Do you know someone (not you, of course! Someone close…) that is always in and out of relationships because they keep meeting the wrong people? It starts off well, sparks fly and the connection is established but it does not last. Perhaps, you know someone (definitely not you) who keeps changing jobs saying that it is not suitable for him. It begins with him coveting the position, proclaiming it is made for him. It was exciting when he started but over a short period of time, he declared that it was not his thing. Or maybe another friend who had tried all sort of business ventures, like drop-shipping, funnels, franchises and many more. He swore he had found the perfect business, got right into it and was extremely enthusiastic with the initial results he had gotten. He even tried to convince you to do the same thing, only to have the energy fizzled over time and started something else before the first venture could be successful.

The problem is that all situations above have a common denominator. It is not the relationship, job, or business model that is wrong. It is your friend. The friend who is the common denominator in all of the seemingly bad relationship, wrong job and incorrect business. His problems are not going to go away because he is still in it. Can you relate?

None of the above situations is wrong or bad. Great relationships involving the other party are probable. The job he thought was ‘wrong’ could be a life-fulfilling career for someone else. The ‘unsuccessful’ business venture had flourished before under another person. Certainly, it could be that it was not a good or right fit, to begin with. He could have picked a person with different life beliefs to him, a job that was totally inappropriate or a business model that did not suit his values. However, if it was not that, could it be possible that a lack of commitment is the reason why he failed?

After all, the start was always favourable, it just did not last.

Have you felt the same before? Have you been distracted before? We need variety in life and changing our minds is one of the privileges and luxuries we possess that bring fun and spontaneity in our lives. However, it can become an issue if it does not allow you to do what you set out to do, limit your potential and not maximise your life.

Also, it stops you from getting to the ‘next’ level and experiencing more in the same position. Like, the connection and intimacy you experience after a long relationship that has decades of history, a job that becomes career overtime or the value a mature business provides. That experience is only reserved for those who had invested prolonged periods of time, a vast amount of thought, reflection and energy. It is the prize given to commitment.

So, how do you stay committed? Here are a few tips.

  1. Start with ‘why’. What is/are your compelling reason(s) to make this choice? What is the outcome you wish to achieve? This reason needs to be so compelling such that it will still drive you when you feel like giving up. Without a strong ‘why’, there is no reason to make you want to persist when the going gets tough (and it always gets tough!).
  2. Get leverage. Link immense Pain to the alternatives and extreme Pleasure to the outcome of the commitment. The choices you make is proportional to the pain you think you can avoid and/or the pleasure you feel you will receive.
  3. Ensure accountability. If you are certain with what you want and feel like extra support would help, find someone whom you trust (and respect) fully and have no other vested interest in you apart from wanting to help you to reach your goals. Tell him or her to hold you accountable for what you want to do and ask them to remind you why you wanted to do it. It is often that we forget our way in the midst of our journey to the destination.
  4. Remember you can quit anytime, so why quit now? Do it later!!

You are an amazing human with potential and capabilities so great that you may never comprehend. Be sure to commit to your worthy goals, do not get distracted by the Shiny Objects around you and succeed in all you set out to do.

Shiva got his frisbee in the middle of toys flying around him. What could you achieve if you were not distracted?

‘When you are interested, you will do what is convenient. When you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.’

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