Beware the Shiny New Thing

There is a human fascination with the shiny new thing. We are attracted to it in every facet of our lives – from politics to business, from the grocery aisle to a used car lot, from Eve’s shiny apple to Heidi Montag’s new, well, everything. Shiny new things grab headlines and our attention by wooing us. By drawing us in and appealing to our innate fascination with all things new and shiny.

The proposition of the shiny new thing is that it’s better. Cooler than what you’ve seen or experienced to date. The shiny new thing does something different. And with that difference comes greater utility. The shiny new thing is usually a functional enhancement or difference, but the very nature of it being shiny and new works to elicit an emotional response.

And herein lies the power of the shiny new thing: greater utility delivering a greater emotional benefit. Greater than what you’ve seen before.

But there is a problem with new things that are shiny. They are distractions from what we know works – the reliable, the blocking and tackling, the core. Ultimately shiny new things can be distractions from what’s important.

Herein lies the danger of the new shiny thing: Sacrificing long-term gain for short-term satisfaction. This is the bizarre-o-land where methodology trumps purpose; tactics trump strategy; and style beats substance. This is the land where the shiny new thing thrives.

Looking past the shiny new thing is difficult, but necessary in today’s environment of non-stop new and increased shine. Looking under the hood, reading the label, asking questions, being smart about the decisions you make.

The shiny new thing hates your curiosity. It hates your inquisitive nature. It feeds on your irrationality and hopes you don’t recognize it as it happens … because the recognition of your own propensity to be wooed by the shiny new thing is the first step to not being wooed.