What is shiny object syndrome?

Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) is a term used to describe a tendency or behaviour where people become easily distracted by new, exciting, and novel opportunities or ideas, that they feel exciting, new, and things that made them feel stimulated!

Rather than staying focused on their goals or priorities at hand, they seem to keep looking outside of their sandbox so speak. In other words, it refers to the habit of being drawn to shiny or attractive things, rather than staying on track, facing with what is important or necessary right in front of them. Almost like a child keep being distracted with new toys even though the current toys are, good enough to play with and sufficient to satisfy.

People who suffer from SOS may frequently switch between different projects or ideas, often without completing any of them. They may become easily bored or lose interest in a project once the initial excitement wears off, and move on to something else. This can be detrimental to productivity, as it can prevent individuals from achieving their goals, especially the bigger and long-term goals which require patience, persistence, and commitment in making meaningful progress, be it in their personal or professional life goals.

SOS can be particularly common in entrepreneurs and creative individuals who are always seeking new and innovative ideas because it is the nature of entrepreneurs to take risks, explore and test new ideas, and being innovative.

However, it is important to recognize the symptoms of SOS and take steps to overcome this tendency, such as setting clear priorities, avoiding unnecessary distractions, and staying focused on long-term goals.

How to Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome

So, you’ve got a plan to overcome shiny object syndrome. But how do you do it?

Here’s a summary of ideas to get out of this trap:

  • Limit the number of projects you can work on at a time – This way it helps you to focus on what’s in front of you, and keep your mental space to entertain any new idea to a minimum.
  • Reduce the time you spend on social media as this is the biggest trigger factor and the most easily distracted place. Especially when we see posts from others’ “shiny objects” it can really easily be a real killer of your focused attention to the tasks at hand. Also, looking at others’ posts about their short glimpses of success, regardless of whether they are real or not, it can trigger and induce the FOMO – fear of missing out! And hence it causes you to become even more compiled on the feeling and sense of the shiny objects syndrome.
  • Do meditation to calm the mind and help with focus and concentration.
  • Reflect on the list of successful projects, and do a recall/recount of the stages it went through from ideation to execution to completion. This will bring back the memory and highlight the amount of energy put into focusing on getting the project done and committing all the way through.
  • Being cautious of your own behaviours and make sure you can withstand the challenges that you can turn away from your core projects.


Finally, find your true calling, like many of the greats, and stick with it.

Break the long-term goals into small, short goals and work on them without looking “left or right.”

Keep your eyes in front of you and keep travelling steady, so to speak, to focus, and increase your motivation for achieving your pre-set goals.

If and when you happen to have the impulse to start a random new project, you can either keep treating it as a reward to do after achieving your original goals first or, use the momentum and enthusiasm from that “shiny object” to carry it over, so that your drive can now help you to achieve your original goal and keeping you right on track.

It is worth noting though, that many high achievers do embark on multiple journeys and work on multiple projects and still succeeded, such as myself, I have been able to achieve every single dream I have thus far, and have shared the experiences too, in my book: Connection – The Currency to Happiness

If you would like help managing your “Shiny Object Syndrome” please email me at linda@lindaduong.com.au for a super, Lazer, focus, and on-the-spot, complimentary coaching session of 15mins (value up to $125), thereafter, to see how we can work together and help you achieve your dreams/goals.

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash