Rule of Three

What is so magical about the number three? The answer lies in the way we process information. As humans, we have become proficient at pattern recognition by necessity, and three is the smallest number of elements required to create a pattern. You observe the Rule of Three demonstrated all the time across diverse areas of life because information presented in groups of three sticks in our heads better than other clusters of items. For example:

  • “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
  • “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
  • “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”

The Rule of Three also applies in business. For example:

  • Mission, Vision, Values
  • Goals, Objectives, Strategies
  • Analyze, Implement, Assess

Most importantly, The Rule of Three favors the following characteristics of a successful enterprise:

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Action

Warren Buffet said, “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.” With that in mind, if you ever find yourself with a long list of tasks, try organizing them in three categories with three prioritized tasks per category. Then pick the three most actionable tasks and get to work.

Actions to take Now

Read how Thomas Jefferson and Steve Jobs used the Rule of Three to change the world. Also, remember this three-word phrase, “Fortune favors action.” today.


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