5 Reasons Were Obsessed with Lists

We have become the Society of the List. We list everything. It’s not just groceries anymore. Everything we think is cool must have five reasons behind it.

Good steak dinner? Break it down 10 ways. Good day for skiing? Five mountains that are ready.

This is certainly the case in story writing. Guilty as charged here, with four of the last seven stories published from yours truly including some kind of list.

We even take morbid spins on lists. Woah.

Why do we live in List Mania? I've figured it all out. In fact, here are five reasons:

1. We Are Lazy

Who wants to read a story with a beginning, middle and end? That’s work. Let’s just give you a nice bold title, a few blocks of text and let you digest every other third sentence or so as you scroll your smartphone in the office hallway.

2. We Are Spoiled

Everything is handed to us today. Food thrown at us as we sit in our cars. Navigational devices tell us where to drive. We have smart thermostats and smoke detectors. Why not have a story broken down into bite-sized pieces that we can pick and choose what we want to read?

3. Lists Are Simply Legit

Think of the possibilities of applying lists in our lives:

  • “5 Reasons Why I Forgot to Take Out the Trash”
  • “10 Reasons Why ‘Snooze’ Always Beats ‘Get up and go to the gym’ Each Morning”
  • “2 Reasons Why The Elbow Rest On The Coach Flight is Mine, and Not Yours”
  • “16 Reasons to Cancel a Meeting Just Because It’s Awesome Seeing ‘Meeting Canceled’ in Your Inbox”
  • “20 Reasons How Sneezing Will Probably One Day be Offensive in Society”
  • “1 Way to Lose $35 Buying Two Beers at Fenway Park”

4. We Live Like Lists

Since our lives are like lists, why wouldn’t we love lists in general?

Think about it: 1. We wake up. 2. We eat. 3. We work. 4. We eat. 5. We Work. 6. We eat. 7. We sleep.

I mean, really, we don’t wake up, start thinking creatively immediately, produce supporting evidence on how we’re going to make a great day for ourselves and then conclude with a strong ending argument on how awesome we were that day, right?

No. We go from one step to the next, much like a list. Doesn't require a framework or making a case.

5. We Can’t Live Without Them

How could we even bear the thought of living in a list-free world? Vendors wouldn’t have software presentations. Reporters wouldn’t have half as many stories. Children would show up to school without supplies. Forbes wouldn’t have a magazine.

Nope, society would simply crumble in the List-Free World. We just couldn’t carry on.

In fact, here are five reasons why life would come to a halt without lists … 

Title image by Photo.Lux (Shutterstock).