People love lists. They’re handy for both remembering and reference, and they feel like efficient, compact, helpful things to have around. Shopping lists, for example, are super handy.
Unfortunately, lists have taken on dark side. A big trend on Facebook and the rest of social mediaville is to share lists of things other people do. “Ten Habits Of Highly Organized People“, or “Seven Habits Of People Who Are Disgustingly Rich,” or “Eleventeen Habits Of People So Happy You Want To Slap Their Smug Faces Ever Time You See Them.”
If you do this, or know someone who does this, here are some valuable tips on this practice.
1. Habit Lists are just wimpy self-help books
Self-help books are an easy replacement for actually doing work. If they really had the solution there would be one in each category and call it done. Instead people buy them over and over. They’re mental snacks, like a Twinkie. But lists aren’t even a full Twinkie. They’re Twinkettes.
2. You have no idea who wrote that List
Look at the byline. Do you know this person? No. Don’t give them any credibility just because their list looks pretty. Trust me, any idiot can pull together a bunch of points on a list.
3. Lists never have enough info
They’re supposed to be short and sweet so people share them. Truly valuable information is complex and takes a while to read and understand. These lists always stop short of telling you what you really need to know. There’s a way to fix this, but I’m out of space to explain.
4. The art is often better than the List
Ever noticed all these lists have an inspirational picture attached of someone climbing a mountain, watching a sunrise, or eating hundred dollar bills for breakfast with their coffee? Some of them are actually quite good, even though they have nothing to do with the list. Save the picture if you want, because it’s often the best thing on the page.
5. Nobody reads the whole List anyway
Once, Lulubelle the whale decided to ride a bicycle. But she couldn’t because she has no legs and would crush the bike to pieces. But really she was safe from being embarrassed by a horrible bicycle debacle because nobody reads all this text anyway, especially in the middle of a list. It just looks good to have a lot of items, but people just skim them. You owe me twenty bucks if you actually read this.
6. Lists never changed anyone’s life
All the Smart, Sexy, Strong, Rich people that are quoted on those lists… have you ever seen one say “I got here because of a List I read on the Internet?”
7. Wisdom isn’t in Lists
Habits follow action. We are what we repeatedly do. To become better at something you need to get out and do it. Experience it. There is no shortcut or quickstart guide. There may be great books to help you learn new things, but they’re not in bullet form on a website.
8. Follow your path, not theirs
If you look at the most successful people in any of these list categories, from Happily Married to Rich, rarely did any of them get there the same way. For any rule one of them followed ten others did it entirely the opposite. They’re successful because they followed their own path and discovered what works for them. Do the same.
There you go! I hope my list has been at least as helpful as some of the other lists you have seen out there!
Stay tuned for my next installment: Ten Popular Social Media Article Title Trends That You Have To See To Believe But Will Restore Your Faith In All Of Humanity One Person At A Time As You Weep Openly!