Shiny Object Syndrome

This blog post is from my premium (aka paid) newsletter, Practices. If you are interested in practical insights and applications on how to do creative work, consider joining here. And if free is more of your tastes, I also do two other free newsletters, Considerations and Bookaholics.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”Leonardo da Vinci

The biggest enemy to accomplishing our goals is ourselves.

I don’t necessarily mean self-sabotage (although that’s a thing we have to face sometimes too). In an odd twist of fates, it’s easy for us to unintentionally block our goals by wanting too many of them at once.

Misplaced enthusiasm is just as dangerous as fear of failure (or fear of success).

I’ve lost count of how many new shiny ideas have derailed my current projects from being completed. (There’s also the issue of the billions of ways we could be spending our time. But that’s a conversation for another day.)

My problem is I love creating and learning about a lot of different things, and I’ll often have many ideas on any given day I could pursue. (Humblebragger) Just today, I had five little song ideas I recorded on my phone. They’re nothing special, but the problem is they have the potential to be, if—dramatic pause—I focused on them.

How do we choose what to prioritize? 

First off, no idea is worth anything if it’s never started or completed. Once you realize that, it’s easier to think long-term about where you want to be and what you should focus on in the short-term. 

Jumping from one idea to the next is fun, but if we were to look back on our time today five years from now, would you feel accomplished by the long string of uncompleted projects and desires? Or would you rather focus on a few things and be proud of what you finished?

There are only 24 hours in a day and roughly only 1-5 hours of energy we have to dedicate to our creativity. This limitation demands us to prioritize. Otherwise, we may spread ourselves too thin and diminish our creative power. We can do anything—but not all at once. 

But having limitations does not mean we are *limited.* Rather, limitations give us the opportunity to think outside the box.

Prioritize what you love to do. Obligations and responsibilities are important, but doing what you love is what will set your spirit on fire with energy, joy, and meaning. Ignoring our calling will never win us any favors.

How to stay focused:

1. Out of sight out of mind.

  • Create an environment that allows you to focus.

2. Build up the habit.

  • Getting rid of everything that’s distracting you (like unsubbing from entertaining things that are eating all of our time) is helpful, but it doesn’t solve the underlying issue.
  • Don’t surround yourself with a stack of todos. For example, if you’ve got 50 books you want to read, don’t pile them around you, remind you of all the things you haven’t done yet. Keep only the single book you are reading out in your environment. The 49 others are just a distraction from the book in hand (pun intended).  

3. Set time wait limits.

1. Write down, record, and sketch out any idea that pop’s in your head.

2. Set a wait-limit (24 hours, a few days, a week, two weeks, etc.) before you jump on anything right away. By giving yourself a wait-limit, you avoid the honeymoon of the “shiny object syndrome” as well as staying on track with your current priority.

4. Reward good habits, punish bad habits.

  • ….but not too much. You probably reward yourself with Ice Cream every time you make it to the gym. Don’t be too harsh on yourself either. Perfection can derail us just as much as uncertainty or unclear goals can.

5. When in doubt, act on something.

  • Even if you aren’t 100% on what you want to do, create some forward momentum by doing something. Something is better than nothing.

Reflection: What’s one thing you want to focus on this week?

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Practices.

Let me know your thoughts, feel free to reply back to this post or email me at josh [at] renaissancelife [dot com]

P.S. If you liked this post, you’ll love my conversation with Jessica Jollie (Owner of Yoga Landing) on the Renaissance Life Podcast.

P.S.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to the free sister publication ConsiderationsWhere Practices is about creative output, Considerations is about creative inputs.

Also, if you are into books as much as I am, I also have another monthly newsletter about what I’m reading each month called Bookaholics.

Please Share Practices with a friend.

Keep pursuing,

— Josh

Renaissance Life | Daily Blog #1198

Best You 365: Gratitude is Attitude


This is a sample of our BestYou 365 Newsletters.

If you are seeking the best version of yourself you can be in creativity, work, and life, join our newsletter today (and/or share with a friend who would be interested).

Best You 365


BY365 is about asking yourself the questions:

“How can I become my best self?”
“What does that mean to me personally?”
“How can I become a better person every single day?”
“And how can I help and enable people to do the same through my own actions and journey?”


today: Gratitude is Attitude

    When you find yourself seeking something more for yourself, it’s easy to get lost in the future and miss the good you already have given and receive every day. (believe me, I know) 

    To begin your journey to the best version of yourself possible, you must start by being grateful who you are right now, and what you have going for you already.

No matter what setbacks you are facing, I can assure you someone else out there has it worse.

Even at its most extreme feels, when has hating yourself ever worked out for someone?

We must learn from the mistakes and pain. Use them as drivers to embetter yourself and inspire others.

Becoming your best self is not about rejecting your old self. To move on to something bigger, you must be okay with who you are.
I mean, doesn’t the idea of accepting who you are — mistakes and all — sound like you are already becoming someone better?

Look @ me for example, here I am surrounded by privilege, living in the land of the free, home of the brave, but am I giving thanks every day for what I have?

Do I use my freedom to pursue bravery or am I just living within my fears?
Questions we should take the time to ask ourselves.

Gratitude is Attitude.
It’s something you bring to the table.
It’s a perspective you must practice.
It’s a lens that changes even the bad things that happen to you, to the good.


Gratitude Tips — There are many resources out there for gratitude, but here are some of my favorites to get you started:

1. Each morning, write down three things you’re most grateful for. It can be anything you want.

2. Before you talk to anyone, say ‘I love you’ in your mind to them. (Learned this from TF’s book, Tools of Titans.) You won’t believe how effective and mood-lifting this can be, even towards someone you dislike!

3. Practice frugality (like Marcus Aurelius, or Benjamin Franklin) for one day each month. Spend the smallest amount possible on food (eating rice and beans, or something like that), wear cheap clothes, even sleep on the floor. Not only does this make you grateful for what you have, but also reduces the anxiety of losing it all. Showing you it’s not that bad to have nothing.

4. Send a thank you note to someone. Write a letter, reach out. call someone. There’s nothing like gratitude than giving someone presence. It tells them,
‘I see you.’

5. Give a random person a compliment. Think of the last time someone did this to you. Doesn’t it immediately boost your mood for the day?

#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner