There’s something about the human brain and lists. We crave order, delineation, and bite-sized chunks of information. A decade of social media exposure has only intensified this natural urge in us. We’re bombarded with bullet points and listicles by which we can judge our lives.
I’ll often find myself falling into the judgement trap. We’re doing great. We got 8 out of 10 on this one. Our relationship passed the test! But …. wait … that’s only 80%. That’s a B-. That sucks. Nobody wants a B- minus relationship. Here’s another list, we got 90% on this one. Whew!
It’s ridiculous when you really look at it — but it’s everywhere. Just scroll through your Facebook feed on any given day and watch what your brain does when you see the listicle titles. Oh, let’s see how I measure up!
The lists themselves aren’t nefarious. Sometimes there are inspiring suggestions and ideas we can glean. The danger lurks when we allow others (especially some Buzzfeed intern) to author our personal checklists. We are the most qualified authors of the criteria by which we measure our lives, our relationships, our professional success, our needs. We’ve earned the right by living, learning from our experience, and being honest with ourselves.
The simple act of writing — and evolving — our personal checklists relocates the power over our lives back into us. It brings desire, intent, and accountability together. What do I want and need? Who do I want to become? How am I doing? These are all questions we can — and should — ask and answer for ourselves.