Why The Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) is Killing Your Future Success.

In my everyday work teaching English as a second language and productivity and goal planning, I regularly come across an illness called “Shiny Object Syndrome”. Shiny Object Syndrome, or SOS, is where a person is always attracted to the latest shiny thing believing this new thing will be the answer to their problems or dreams, whatever those problems or dreams are, only to find a week or so later another new shiny thing promising a lot comes along and they switch to this new shiny thing.

This illness kills success (and productivity) because it does not allow you to focus on mastery or give you a chance to develop ideas based on what you are doing. You never master anything you become a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ and the world already has a lot of those people.

Let me give you an example:

In teaching English to adult students, I’ve seen many students switch books and resources every week or two believing this new resource or textbook will lead them to finally becoming fluent in English. Of course, this never happens because to become fluent in any language you need to get the basics first then use those basics in real-time writing and or conversations. If you are not ‘doing’ that, you will never become proficient in the language. It’s all about being consistent.

The same goes for productivity. If you are always switching apps you will never have the consistency to master your tools or develop your productivity system — your latest system will be based on the latest app you are trying.

If you look at any successful person, you will always find a pattern of passion and consistency. Bill Gates and his passion for finding ways to use technology to solve world problems. Warren Buffett and his passion for investing. Mel Robbins and her passion for empowering people to perform at their very best every day. These amazing people are not switching their interests every few weeks, they have doubled down on their interests and gone deeper and deeper in their understanding and mastery. This is why they are successful. It’s also why so many people are not achieving the success they desire. They never take the time to develop a deeper understanding or mastery of their craft, hobbies or interests.

Most people have a surface interest in what they do. They are only attracted by the shininess of the new, what could be and how they imagine they will be successful in pursuing this new venture. The reality is that success only comes when you go down into the murky depths of the topic, look into the deepest, darkest corners to truly understand everything you can about the subject. That’s the boring part and that’s what most people skip.

A few years ago, I developed a concept called PACT. PACT stands for Patience, Action, Consistency and Time. These are the four cornerstones to achieving success at anything. It is simple, it works and it is very hard to do. Hard because the latest, shiniest thing will try and pull you away from being consistent and allowing enough time to pass for your passion, skill or whatever it is you want to succeed to develop.

Let’s say you want to become a social media influencer either through Instagram or YouTube. The path to success is incredibly simple. Create content every day (action + consistency) and allow sufficient time to pass (patience + time) Now, in my research it takes around four years to become somewhat successful at this.

Almost everyone who is doing well on social media whether, through blogging, YouTube or Instagram have been doing it for four years or longer. The path is marked for you and the shortcuts that tempt you away from this path are littered with the failure of those who have not followed PACT act as an example of how not to do it.

Over time, you will develop your skills. That could be your writing skills, your podcasting skill, video editing and so many other essential skills. As your audience grows you learn what content resonates with them, your abilities to perform your skills improve and your audience grows and grows. But for all this to happen you need enough time. It will never happen over a few months or even a year or two. It takes much longer than that. If you do not have the patience, you will never succeed at this.

Of course, this is not just for creating a social media presence either. This is true for anything. David Allen’s Getting Things Done concept grew over twenty-five years. Carl Cox, one of the world’s top techno DJs, developed his basic DJaying skills over seven years (8 to 15 years old!) and is still developing his skills almost forty years later.

It’s this time spent developing your skills at whatever it is you want to master that will take you towards the success you desire. Falling for the latest shiniest object is a guaranteed way to fail. It’s a path that leads nowhere and it’s a path you need to avoid taking. Doing the hard work, spending time doing the boring repetitive tasks — the tasks that develop your skills and knowledge — and being patient. That is the real path to success and it’s a path anyone can take. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Not easy because it takes a lot of discipline to do it.

So the question for you is: do you have the patience? Are you willing to take the necessary action consistently every day? And will you give yourself enough time (at least four years) to allow your venture, idea or productivity system to develop?

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.



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Carl Pullein

Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com