It’s time we give up the listicles. We live in a society that’s obsessed with them. Take a quick look around Medium, and you’ll no doubt come across someone promising that if you adopt or abandon 8, 30 or even 50 behaviors you’ll be well on your way to a new and improved you. There’s something comforting about listicles. Their finiteness gives us a sense that something is achievable with limited effort. What’s troubling about listicles — which garner an extremely high number of “recommends” on platforms like Medium — is that these lists don’t speak to our individuality. At best, they offer pithy ideas for the mind or ego to consume: watch less TV before going to sleep, meditate more, create don’t think!
The truth is that no other person has the solution that will break us free from our realities and put us on the path to self-discovery and self-improvement. NO ONE. Only we do. Yet, the numbers have an allure that’s difficult to resist. It’s understandable. We’ve been conditioned to believe that someone else holds the key to our salvation. Religion, patriarchy and traditional education all condition us to surrender our power, to believe that someone else knows better than we do. As a society, we are constantly told what’s best for us and led to look outside of ourselves for answers rather than within. It has become so ingrained in us to trust someone else’s truth as opposed to our own that we click the moment we see these lists.
The sum total of our beings involves our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual bodies. Listicles typically focus on the mental and emotional, and occasionally the physical bodies, making them far too limited when it comes to addressing our whole selves. No single aspect of our beings is greater than the other, which means they must work in perfect harmony in order for us to be fully connected beings. More often than not, because of our stress-filled approach to living and the push/pull nature of relationships with others as well as ourselves, we fall short of this. So we compensate by focusing on one or another of our bodies at a time: the physical (exercise more, eat better); the emotional (doing things that feel good); the mental (knowledge is power); or the spiritual (pray and leave it up to God).
The trap of listicles and the life advice many of them offer is that they lead us to believe that the answers to our greatest issues can be boiled down to a few easy steps. It makes us hopeful to read that a specific practice of 7 or 8 of someone else’s ideas, packaged with some nice-sounding quotes they’ve found online or in books, will make us better person or a happier person or at least, a less miserable person. It gives us hope that the answer lies between some finite set of numbers.
What’s particularly upsetting is that these listicles have a somnolent effect on followers and disempowers them from becoming thinkers for themselves.
These lists and the individuals who write them feed the disconnect many are experiencing with what they know to be true and what they believe. Knowledge is fed from the outside; belief comes from the inside. Both are fundamental to our human experience and understanding, but only personal belief transcends and opens us to true Consciousness.
We know what’s right for us and don’t need a list to tell us. All these listicles serve up is what we already know to be true, e.g., eat less, exercise more, and show gratitude because someone always has it worse than us, rendering them pointless at the end of the day.
Our realities are in the midst of a massive undoing and transformation so we can better connect to our own truth and discover our Consciousness. There’s no promise for a better world if we cannot look within ourselves and build it from there. If there’s one thing you can do to change your life, it’s to give up reading listicles, to avoid listening to others’ advice and to begin following your own. Clickbait articles by authors simply seeking to increase their stats or gain followers do not serve us. In the end, no one can tell you better than yourself what it will take in order to come into harmony with yourself. It takes time, not hours, days, months or years, but a lifetime of building an open, honest, loving relationship with yourself to be able to come into your truth.