Why You DON’T Need Shiny and New

What’s wrong with sparkly things out there striving to get your attention.

Shiny and New

There are a lot of sparkly things out there to get our attention. From the latest productivity app to the newest course by the big name leader to the latest and greatest book on leadership, there’s always something vying for our attention.

Most of the time we give in. We grab the shiny new object and adore it. Until we’re finished…

Then we put it aside.

We close the book. We forget what we read. We move on.

We watch the video course. We absorb a little information. We move on.

We play with the app. We get bored. We move on.

Wash, rinse repeat.

We Like Shiny and New

The shiny objects are fun.

They promise to make us more productive or to increase our knowledge. They beckon us with their sexy covers or smooth promises.

We like these things, we really do.

They make us feel better about ourselves. They make us feel like we’re making forward progress.

There’s a problem, though. They’re not making us any of those things. Rather, they’re taking away from what we could be.

The Problem With Shiny and New

They lay out big promises. They tell us how much we’re going to improve. They tell us we’ll be changed when we use them.

By now, you know that’s not true.

After you’ve picked up the new shiny object, you’re already ready for the next new thing. The next promise, the next great thing, the next object that will change your life.

And that’s the problem. Right there in front of you.

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Before you’ve had any chance to make a change, you’ve already put aside the thing that could change your life.

You rapidly read through the new business book. Ready to read the next book that will change your life.

You play with the productivity app. Then check out the next app that’s guaranteed to make you better.

We only give a brief moment to the life-changing opportunities in front of us. We want the next and new. We want shiny and flashy.

Stop Chasing the Shiny and New

Instead of going after the latest book that will teach you the newest leadership technique, decide to dive deep into a classic leadership book. A book like How to Win Friends and Influence People or Good to Great.

Take your time to read through each page. Digest what Dale Carnegie or Jim Collins wrote.

Scribble notes in the book margins. Dog ear the pages to denote where the meat of the book is at.

Finish the book. Then go through and read it again. And again. And again.

Put the new and shiny aside. Choose to devote time to studying the works of art in front of you.

Go back again and again and learn anew what you’ve already read.

You’d be amazed at what will leap off the page when you re-read books or what new insight you’ll glean when you re-watch a course.

Books, courses, apps…they’re not one-stop and done.

Oh no, they’re more like an all-you-can-eat buffet. They’re meant for you to go back again and again.

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You need to return to the trough and get more from these things.

It’s not about the shiny and new. It’s about studying a work and getting the most out of it that you can.

Question: Are you guilty, like I am, of moving from one thing to the next without digesting what you’ve ingested? What are you going to do to change this behavior? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.

Joseph Lalonde
Joseph Lalonde is passionate to see young people serving God and becoming the leader God has created them to be. He served as a youth leader for 15 years and is on a new journey now. You can find him encouraging young leaders here and on Twitter.
  • Phillip L. Sharp

    I recently discovered the truth of your statements. I’m personally guilty of buying new books, apps, things and barely using them if at all. I recently picked up a book already in my collection and started to read it only to discover that initially I hadn’t gotten past the first chapter or so. I am discovering so many “golden nuggets” as I call them that I’m embarrassed that I didn’t commit to completing the book earlier. The worst thing is the book is nine years old!

    • Ouch, that can be a sign that we have more than we need. At least you’re getting something out of the book this time around. Can you share 1 or 2 things you’ve gotten out of the book?