How to Stop Chasing Shiny Pennies and Be Successful


Shiny Penny Syndrome, Success is the only option,


So you know you want to be successful - but you just don't know what at. You have that burning urge inside you to make it but you just need to find the right opportunity...

Then, it happens. 😲

You stumble across 'that thing' you have been searching for - this is it, all you need to do is learn the skills needed and you can turn your life around - achieve success and unlock that freedom you have been searching for!

So you go to work, grinding, determined to make it work  - you put in the hours of research, read all the material, follow the instructions from your new 'guru' and then sit back and wait for the results that you were promised...

But, it doesn't quite work out like you had hoped - the results don't come, or they do, but in a lacklustre fashion. You get disgruntled, you get fed up, you think maybe this isn't the right strategy for you after all, you.... oh, what's that new shiny thing?

You get distracted by the 'shiny penny', and so the cycle begins again (and again, and again, and again...). 

What is a Shiny Penny?

A Shiny Penny is a term that describes something new and shiny that distracts you from whatever it is that you are currently focussing on. It can come in the form of a new business model, new strategy, new venture, new partner and so on - we are pre-disposed as humans to think the reason we have not been successful is because of some outside influence, such as we are not doing the right thing, rather than an internal influence such as that we are not yet skilled enough at what we are already doing and need to put in more more and learn from our failures. 

This can be a particular issue for someone who is driven by the fear of missing out and can't stop going for the next thing. Shiny penny syndrome is a term that describes someone who has this mindset and can't stop chasing shiny pennies. This is more prevalent in today's online digital society where every man and his dog touts online courses and mentorships in the next best thing that promises to make you an overnight success - just like them, with their bright green Lamborghinis... 

The term "shiny penny" was coined in a recent article by Forbes contributor, Tara Gentile. She defines it as "a person who can't stop going for the next thing."

She also mentions how these people are driven by FOMO, or the fear of missing out on something.

The article goes on to talk about how people with shiny penny syndrome are never satisfied with what they have and always want more. They often take risks without thinking about consequences because they're so worried about what might happen if they don't take action now.

So then, they key to overcoming shiny penny syndrome is to realise that there is no quick fix, get rich quick scheme. Any one of the strategies you have tried previously WOULD HAVE WORKED - if only you had of stuck at it for long enough!

The Importance of Goals in Achieving Success

This is why it is important to set goals in order to achieve success, to avoid drifting off on a tangent!

For many people, the idea of setting goals is a daunting task. They might feel like they are not sure what the right goals are or that they can’t reach those goals. However, it is important to set goals for yourself to achieve success in life.

But what is a goal, and how do you go about setting them?

A goal is an objective that you want to achieve in your life. It can be anything from a work-related goal or a personal goal. Achieving your goals will lead you to success and happiness in life as long as you set them with a vision and purpose in mind.

Basically, you want to think about your vision for your life, or your life's purpose - what do you want your life to be about.

Then, starting with the end in mind, break down into small milestones the things you need to achieve to get towards realising your life's purpose.

Now, this isn't an article about setting goals - that is post all by itself, but the point is by having clear goals you will be less likely to veer off on a tangent every time something new comes along until you find you have drifted through half of your life without actually achieving much.

With a clear set of goals and a set process for checking that the actions you are taking are leading you towards your goals, you can stay on the right track and work towards being successful, whatever your venture might be.

What If I Fail?

Another reason people chase the proverbial shiny penny is because they tried something once or twice, but they failed - so to speak. In other words, it didn't give them them the results they had hoped for straight away.

What people don't seem to realise is, failure and success go hand in hand. You don't succeed or fail - success is the accumulation of learning from many, many failures - it is part of the process.

You only really fail when you stop trying.

So, next time something doesn't go quite right, don't throw in the towel and decide that whatever it is you are doing isn't for you - examine it, understand what went wrong, think about what you could do differently to get a better result.

If you quit and start something new every time you hit a road block, you will never achieve anything great. Work through it, grow from it, become better because of it.

As Jim Rohn once said, "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills".

8 Things You Can Do to Stop Chasing Shiny Pennies

In order to stop chasing those shiny pennies, you need to first understand the root cause of your desire to chase them. 10 common reasons might be:

1. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

In this instance, the FOMO would typically be around missing out on a new opportunity that you have heard of. You feel that what you are doing might not be a good strategy after all, yet someone on a YouTube ad is pitching you on 'the opportunity of a life time'.... 

Stop! ❌

Understand that you can't do everything - it just isn't possible. You will get much better results if you just pick one thing and stick to it - desensitise yourself to all these other opportunities and just do you. Chances are anyway that whatever the opportunity is - it isn't new.

There are very few truly new opportunities out there - most have been around a long time and are just repurposed and re-packaged by new people, and if it comes to it and you REALLY need to choose a new route, then you can bet that it will still be there for the taking!

2. Lack of discipline

Pressure busts pipes so they say - it makes diamonds too 💠... if there is one thing that will kill your success, it is a lack of discipline. You have to keep on keeping on, keep grinding away UNTIL you get the results you want.

If you can't be bothered to put in the work and go through the struggle, then you are never going to turn into that diamond.

3. Goals are not SMART enough

We already talked about the importance of having goals - it's a biggie. But what goals have you set yourself? Are they SMART? 

If you don't know, SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

Goals, for sure, should be clearly defined down to the last detail, so you know exactly what you want to achieve. They should be clearly measurable so you can track your progress. They also need to be set against a suitable time frame depending on the size of the goal.

I don't quite agree with the 'achievable' and 'realistic' parts - because who is to say what is achievable? For me, this is just setting limits for ourselves, when we can probably achieve so much more.

4. Lack of gratitude

How can you expect to attract success without feeling gratitude for what you already have?

When you live in a state of  'want', you will never be happy - you will always be chasing the next thing, and you will never be satisfied.

Learning to truly appreciate what you have and what you have achieved is a great way to stop you wanting to do something else and sticking on the road to success.

5. Lack of focus

Focus, a.k.a attention, is the big currency in the modern world - everyone is fighting for your attention. We are bombarded with thousands upon thousands of bits of information a day from people trying to get their message across to you.

This coupled with the fact that we are all constantly connected to the world through our phones, makes it difficult to switch off and focus on one thing, but it is important to do so.

Whilst everyone in your Facebook feed or Instagram stories is telling you that they have the next best thing, any successful will tell you what you what you need is to maintain single minded focus on that one thing to be the best at it - so switch off that phone and get to work! 👊

6. You have no idea what you really want from life

It's a big question - what do you want from life?

Goals come into it - but this is deeper than the goals, this is more about values. What are your values, what is important to you?

Everyone has a unique set of values and learning to understand yours can help you to realise what is important to you and what you want to spend your time doing. If you are trying to win at something that doesn't align with your values, you will end up self-sabotaging yourself and what's more, you will feel like crap doing it.

Try and understand what it is that is important to you, and align your success strategy with that. You will be less likely to jump from ship to ship if you are doing something that means something to you - check out one of the values tests online to give you an idea of where your internal compass is pointing.

7. You are not where you want to be in life (career-wise)

So you aren't where you wanted to be by now in your career and you think maybe this isn't the right career choice - maybe if you tried something else you would get further? 🤷

Well, unless you are doing something that you actually don't enjoy - something that tears your soul apart every time you think about going back to it (in which case then by all means get out of there!), then the chances are that you need to work harder on you, and figure out how you can become more valuable.

If you turn up every day and just go through the motions, are you really surprised you aren't getting ahead?

You have to be looking to add value in anything you do - learn new skills, take on more responsibility, identify and suggest improvements - you will be rewarded in-line with the value you bring.

8. You have a bad habit that needs breaking (e-g: social media addiction)

This overlaps with several of the points above, but having bad habits can eat away at you on multiple fronts.

First, it can seriously drain your time - time that could otherwise be used productively to improve yourself, or work on something that will benefit you. You will find yourself saying "Oh, I don't have time to start a new business", or "I don't have time to read books" - meanwhile you spend 8 hours a day scrolling social media, playing games or watching TV 🤦

We all have the same amount of hours in a day, it is what we choose to prioritise that counts.

Secondly, as mentioned earlier, we are constantly being bombarded with information - particularly through social media, which may be damaging to our single minded focus. This is where you will see all these other opportunities - people telling you your way is wrong and theirs is right.

It makes sense then that if we want to stop chasing the next shiny penny, that we limit our exposure to these messages.

Be ruthless with your time - take note of how much time you are wasting on these habits and start limiting how much time you spend on them so you can be more productive - this is where planning your time ahead helps massively!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you now understand what it means to be 'chasing the shiny penny', and how detrimental it can be to your success.

If the points above resonate with you don't worry, you are not alone - I am an expert on the subject, trust me! 😂

It is a common psychological phenomenon - we are all pretty much wired the same way so we all face similar inner challenges - it is just a case of developing a  more robust mental toolkit through our learnings and experience to help us grow and deal with these issues.

I spent years jumping from one thing to the next (this blog included), thinking the next thing was going to be the one that clicked for me, thinking I was missing out, when really I just needed to focus on the one thing that was really working for me which was my career as an Engineer.

Through stepping back to look at the big picture, working on myself to become more valuable and learning to leverage my time, I managed to literally 10x my income in the space of 18 months leaving me free to do what I love, which is providing advice to others to help them find their own success - a lot of which I put down to the freaky power of the 'law of attraction', but that's for another post 😉


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