5 Steps to Madness

MJ Miller
2 min readMar 4, 2020


Or what I dislike most about the new age of numeric content.

My inbox is inundated daily with numeric instructions for conquering all of life’s hurdles. Now I don’t mean to be critical. Wait, yes, I do. Honesty is paramount in this new world order. I cannot take it any longer.

15 Steps to Success. 10 Hacks for Humans. 179 Ways to Satisfy Your Cat.

No more. Please. Just no.

A litany of lists.

Today’s selections began with 10 ways to organize my closet, which believe me there’s no hope of in my lifetime. How about 33 ways to pressure cook an egg. 57 ways to live on 57 dollars a day. 7 Secrets to successful spelunking. My personal favorite, 66 savory stops along route 66.

There are even blogs and articles featuring any number (#) (Numeral) tips on using this technique to master your headlines. Yes, it’s true, this is a trending topic. I am not going to blame Medium or any of the content aggregators for this tedious business. But when my recommended featured reads all have numbers in the headlines, I delete the whole list.

Truth is I do want some advice, every so often. But must we be under a constant barrage of numeric advice columns? I don’t need to know the 22 most valuable keywords to capture the christian angel erotica audience. Or the 11 most sought after shades of peach in bridal gowns. And no, I honestly do not need to know the 5 easiest ways to dispose of condoms. I’m just saying that perhaps we can have one day a month that’s numerically free from advice.

How about just one, yes, 1, reasonable, practical, super fast way to eliminate this trend.

A numeric day of rest.

We would all benefit from such a thing. Your inbox would suggest reading articles with numberless headlines. We go back to using our creativity. Our language skills. Our writing skills. We go back to using words, not numbers. We go back to using superlatives. What a lovely sound that makes when I read it aloud.

When it comes to headlines, only the best will do.

See where I’m going here? I don’t need 33 ways to cook an egg. I want the fastest and best way. I want the ultimate way to cook an egg. I want the single-most savory stop on Route 66. I want the oldest-known secret to successful spelunking. I want the most luxurious way to live on 57 dollars a day.

I want to know what’s at the very top of the heap. The hell with the rest.