Do You Have Too Many Lists?Whenever I write pieces pertaining to self-growth or personal development, I truly try not to dictate and dole out advice that you simply must follow. This is because I already see it – here, there and everywhere, in vast quantities.

As I pore through various articles on multiple sites that encompass the ever-present and renowned format of the list, my insides squeal and contort, just a little bit.

Ironic, right? While the style of the list attempts to arrange words in a concise fashion, I manage to feel overloaded and stressed in spite of its structured convention. There’s a certain heaviness entangled within sentiments such as: “you should do this!” and “reasons why you need to do this!” (along with lines that emulate a similar vibe, too.)

Yet, what knocks the socks off of that particular individual isn’t necessarily going to be the magical equation for everyone — hence my internal protests.

I totally get it: We’re living in a society that’s moving fast. Traditional outlets and methods of reading might be outdated. With the advent of the Internet, social media — thoughts are Tweeted by the minute — and online journalism, people are hungry for their information, and they want to devour it quickly.

In a post on Copy Blogger, Pamela Wilson wrote on why writing succinctly is important.

“Jacob Nielson’s seminal web usability study from 1997 showed that 79.6% of web users scan rather than read,” she noted. “Think about how you use the web. You’re in search of information. And if you don’t find it on the page you’re visiting, you click away and look elsewhere.”

It’s now 2013, though that still sounds about right. Yet, we could also write efficiently without resorting to expression that can be likened to a life-intervention of sorts. I’m sure the advice and conscious choice of its delivery is well-intentioned, but I sometimes feel as if I’m reading bullet points without actually grasping the voice and meaning behind the words.

Psych Central blogger Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., recently posted about living in a societal framework that promotes urgency. Our current culture is composed of breaking news, constant updates to your smart phone (along with the demand for new and improved applications that are part of the advanced tech scene) and an aura of desperation for more.

“To what extent does living with cues of such urgency serve us? Do you like being prompted with urgency by the billboards, our phones, or the television? Maybe it’s just become routine and it’s like you’re shoveling all this content into your mind only to realize later that you don’t even like it.”

Perhaps some crave being told short, sweet and to-the-point answers; they want to know what, when, where, why and how, and they want to comprehend swiftly.

Maybe it’s instinctual that I find these endless lists to be an anxiety propellant; maybe I just don’t usually embrace a lecture-esque approach when it comes to others’ suggestions. All I can do is contribute my writing in the way I feel most comfortable. However, coming full circle here, what may work for me, may not work for you.



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Jul 2013
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Suval, L. (2013). Do You Have Too Many Lists?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from


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