3 things a list will not help you do

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Every magazine, website, and news tease seems to be selling me a list. I’ve even written a list or two of my own (in addition to my epic, unpublished to-do lists). Everyone has suggestions for how to do this, how to do that, how to feel this way, how to change yourself — generally, steps for the reader to use to make some sort of difference in his or her life. Lists are the new Candy Crush life requests…you can’t avoid them, so here’s another one — this time, outlining the five things a list cannot help you achieve.

If I were to adopt the style, attitude, demeanor, and personality of one of the ten women all men notice I’m pretty sure I would not find a partner — or maintain a relationship for any length of time — because I am not those women. The five things men do that women can’t ignore? A guy who consciously tried to do any of those things would look awkward and uncomfortable.

As a person always interested in a good how-we-met story, I can tell you that I have yet to meet any couples who fit into any of these criterion. I don’t think these people exist — I think they are a type of people we want to believe exist, to believe there’s some quick and easy way to make things work for ourselves. Alas, there is no easy way and, ultimately, you’re going to be yourself because you’re you. Also, if you have to read a checklist to determine if your mate is The One, I feel like they probably aren’t. Part of me thinks this is something you’d know.

Most of the “how to be happy” lists are pretty harmless, very similar, and often filled with some common sense techniques that are actually pretty psychologically sound. The problem is that, it takes practice. Happiness is a choice, a constant choice, and true happiness will not arrive overnight (or by beginning a relationship, a new job, etc.). That’s the thing about the lists for happiness. READ MORE…

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