Have you ever been tempted to upgrade something you own simply because there is a newer version? Or to change the way that you do something because someone famous is touting a new method?
In programming circles we call this the shiny toy syndrome. It’s when programmers take the latest and greatest methods/software/tools and use them simply because they are new, rather than because they can provide any value.
The sad thing is that most of us do it. You might call it “keeping up with the Joneses”, but it’s essentially the same thing.
Places Shiny Toys Are Found
You’ve probably already thought of a bunch of places where shiny toys are visible, like new cars or bigger houses. But there are other places you may not be aware of them:
- Software. Upgrading to the latest version because it is offered.
- Phones. Getting a new phone that has features you’ve never thought you needed.
- Televisions. Gettting bigger, flatter, more def.
- Diets. Trying the latest and greatest craze guaranteed to make you lose weight without any effort.
- Gadgets. Getting the newest version of the iPad, even though your current is only 2 months old.
- Productivity methods. Switching to a new planner/software/methodology just because it has been billed as giving significant advantages.
The list goes on…
Why You Should Resist
Most of the time we go after the latest and greatest for the unspoken (or spoken) benefits we think we will receive. We may believe that a bigger television will increase our viewing pleasure. We may assume that a software upgrade will expand the useful features. We may plan on the latest productivity system giving us our evenings back.
But the sad truth is all of these beliefs come from within ourselves, based on our thoughts and feelings and hopes. They may not be grounded in reality.
And often, switching to the shiny toy requires quite a bit of effort, and we are left wondering if it was really worth it for the results obtained.
Resisting the Toys
I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place to upgrade. I traded in my car with 80,000 miles on it, after all…. But there should always be a solid reason on why you upgrade, such as the same 11 year old car developing flaky electrical issues.
The trick is to really think about the advantages of what the latest and greatest will get you, and also the cost.
Ensure that the benefits that you are getting are:
- Real, and not based on perceptions
- Proven, with real-world results for people in your lifestyle/situation
- Worth the effort to switch
Once you have looked at the matter from a realistic grounding, you will be able to tell if you should switch or not.
And perhaps you will avoid subjecting yourself to a cabbage diet.
Have you ever been disappointed by a shiny toy? Do you have ways to resist new things? Share below.
Photo by Patrick Hoesly