Shiny Object Syndrome | Mindsteps Inc.

Shiny Object Syndrome

Professional Development

Jun 22

I used aspire to have a wall full of bookshelves stuffed from floor to ceiling with volumes from multiple genres, authors, and time periods. I used to admire those who managed to read a book each week.

I’ve always wanted to be “well read.”

But, I found myself reading the same few books over and over. I’d struggle to keep up with the Times Best Seller list. I’d hear about a new “hot” book and feel guilty that I would never seem to get time to read it. I’d load up on books at the bookstore and they would sit in my office for years, untouched.

I felt so guilty.

So last year, I set out to read more. I dusted off all those books I’d intended to read. I downloaded the latest tomes on my Kindle and would finish them on long flights. Finally, I thought to myself. I am “well read.”

But there is a difference between being “well read” and “widely read.” While I read a lot of books last year, I didn’t put anything I read into action. Sure, I bombarded my brain with tons of new information and ideas, but I didn’t do anything with them.

I see the same thing happening in education all the time. Everyone reads the latest book on differentiated instruction for instance, but before they can implement anything they’ve learned, they’re on to the newest book about rigor. We bounce back and forth between new theories, strategies, and ideas but never actually DO anything with them.

They call it Shiny Object Syndrome.

Here Are Five Signs That You Have Shiny Object Syndrome:

1. You have a lot of great ideas but feel you need to learn just ONE more thing before you implement.
2. You feel frustrated for not being further along than you are.
3. You are easily distracted and can’t seem to finish anything.
4. You ‘re easily bored. You can’t even seem to finish one book before you’re searching for something else to read.

5. You feel stuck, unable to move, and frustrated.

Shiny Object Syndrome is real and it’s dangerous, leaving you stuck, frustrated, and exhausted. But, there is a cure.

Go deep.

That’s right. Go deep.

Rather than read ten books, read two or three books multiple times. Rather than chase every new idea that comes along, choose one that speaks to your current situation and learn it, implement it, and improve it. Stick with something and make it work.

That’s what I’m doing the rest of this summer. I’m going deep. I’m going to focus on leadership in preparation for this year’s Leadership Lab 2016 Intensive. And, I’m going to put what I learn into practice and then keep iterating it until I become really, really good at it. Then, in October, I am going to take our Leadership Lab participants DEEP into instructional leadership so by then end of the three days, they too will be really, really good at giving feedback and navigating difficult conversations. I’m going deep.

What about you? Wanna go deep with me?

Let me know what you’re gonna focus on in the comments section.


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