Bright Shiny Objects

Do Bright Shiny Objects Captivate You?

Bright Shiny Object
Hey check that out, it’s really cool! Author being distracted while composing this post.

If you answered yes, you are not alone. This occurrence happens to many folks, especially visual artists. Because the unattended mind is a source of imagination, it is inevitable.

Of course, bright shiny object is a metaphor for ADD, or just have a wandering and wondering, curious mind. I am as guilty as the next person for letting intriguing things cause me to lose focus.

Bright Shiny Objects Can Lead to Creativity and Lost Productivity

As with many things in life, there is a balance point where differing interests meet and good results follow. For instance, while all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, all play and no work makes Jack a poor boy. Somewhere in the middle is the balance that produces the best outcome in most situations.

Creativity + Productivity = Success

I think the right mix of productivity and creativity is at the heart of most art business success. Ignore one at the peril of the other. Examine the business lives of most top selling artists and you will find this balanced dynamic in play.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Recently, my sister inspired me with the announcement she has a new mentor and is involved in a social networking community of musical artists, aka “Tribe”, who also work with the mentor. They work on supporting each other’s career aspirations. I am so happy for her to have found herself in a nurturing environment.

Why Passion Shouldn’t Drive You

In sharing her experiences with me, she gave me a link to a blog post from It is titled, Thomas Keller On Why Passion Shouldn’t Drive You. I encourage you to read the short essay, for those in a hurry, here is Keller’s (He is a culinary expert.) premise:

It’s not about passion. Passion is something that we tend to overemphasize, that we certainly place too much importance on. Passion ebbs and flows. To me, it’s about desire. If you have constant, unwavering desire to be a cook, then you’ll be a great cook. If it’s only about passion, sometimes you’ll be good and sometimes you won’t. You’ve got to come in every day with a strong desire. With passion, if you see the first asparagus of the springtime and you become passionate about it, so much the better, but three weeks later, when you’ve seen that asparagus every day now, passions have subsided. What’s going to make you treat the asparagus the same? It’s the desire.

I think bright shiny objects with their allure can engender passion, but rarely are they the trigger for desire. If passion is creativity, then desire is ambition. When ambition and passion exist in abundance then productivity and success ensue.

Creativity Is Crucial

Creativity often requires taking the road less traveled. Productivity is learning to stay focused even as you enjoy bright shiny objects when you encounter them. The key is to not let their lure pull you off the road less traveled.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

Learn to be honest with yourself. Take stock of whether your career has the right mix of creativity and productivity. If you have a deficiency in either, stop what you are doing and work on getting your balance back. You will be glad you did.


Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use


Balance Point, Captivate, creativity, Desire, Passion, Productivity, Shiny Objects

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    1. I am not against wandering. I know it is the engine of imagination. Like I said in the article, it’s all about balance.

  1. Thanks Barney! You have brought clarity to that simmering inner debate many creative people have with themselves. Finding balance is the long journey.
    “If passion is creativity, then desire is ambition. When ambition and passion exist in abundance then productivity and success ensue.”

    1. Hi Madeleine,
      Thank you for your kind words. It is gratifying to receive a comment from as talented as you are.

  2. Just yesterday I was talking to someone about how much I procrastinate when I try new things. He kept telling me that this is normal for an artist… but I don’t think he understood my point. If I kept trying new things, I’d never get down to work.

    I’ll point him to this article.

    1. Thanks for your reply. You get it. It is about balance. You can’t turn completely turn off your curiosity, but you can’t let it cause you to lose focus on what is most important either.

  3. Bright Shiny Objects Ha Ha Ha Hilarious AND TRUE.
    Amazing how one simple distraction over a stimulus not related to the task at hand, like marketing your art work, for example, can put you in a yellow raft floating down swiftly flowing rippling river watching red tailed hawks ride the thermals. Hmmm what was I working on ? FOCUS BABY FOCUS !

    1. Hi Bud, Thank you for your comment. Where did you say you saw those hawks?

      The more our intentions and actions line up, the closer we get to getting things done, especially if we focus on the truly important things… now where is my remote? 😉

      1. Hi Barney,
        I have seen the hawks riding the thermal updrafts on the Colorado river’s red rock walls, also, often I have observed their spiraling , seemingly effortless flight near the massive granite cliffs behind the woods near the house I live in which is in Massachusetts.

        I am in agreement with your very clever statement, “The more our Intentions line up with our actions, the closer we get to getting things done”.

        Conversely, Samuel Clemens once said “Why put off till tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.

        Back on TRACK : Lau-Tzu once said “A journey of 1000 miles starts beneath one’s feet”
        from the Tao te Ching as translated by by D.C. Lao, published by Penquin Classics

        I think that it is by virtue of un-tethered imagination that we can dream, it is by virtue of hard work, planning discipline that we can deliver.”
        Dreaming and disciplined work complement each other.
        I guess the trick is being abled to not only do both, but to switch gears.

        That raft ride down the Colorado river sure was fun.
        b u d

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