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Sunday, March 14, 2010


A special thanks to Coach Creighton Burns for this article on "The Rule of Three." Certainly it relates to self-improvement but I think it is also important in regard to teaching. We can sometimes go into a game and have too many goals and objectives for our team. How many things can you effectively go over in a time out or at half-time? Less is more.

The United States Marine Corps believes strongly in what they call “The Rule of Three.” They've found that implementing this rule saves lives, gets more done faster and more efficiently.

An article on The Corps in INC. Magazine says, “The rule dictates that a person should limit his or her attention to three tasks or goals. When applied to strategizing, the rule prescribes boiling a world of infinite possibilities down to three alternative courses of action. Anything more and a marine can become overextended and confused. The marines experimented with a rule of four and found that effectiveness plummeted.”

I've always believed that three is a powerful number. We find it in some very significant places.

The most powerful physical structure is a triangle or pyramid. In fact, it's the building block of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. For Christians—it's the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then, of course, we have Mind, Body, Spirit. Three is a powerful number metaphysically—a number of completion.

As we become immersed in the ocean of information, possibilities, directions and the like, it becomes even more important for us to focus on the things that are truly important to us—the things that will make a difference in the quality of our lives.

Three things can easily be remembered. Any more than that and retention suffers. We can all sharpen our focus and get better results by using the Rule of Three in our daily lives.

List the three most important values in your life. What's really important to you? If you make this list, you'll place yourself in the top one percent of all the people on the planet because very few ever do this. Your decisions will become infinitely easier because your values are clear.

What are your three primary missions? These are different than goals. Goals can be measured. They can be completed. A mission is your vision of something that you'll never say is done—at least not in this lifetime.

Make a list of your three most important goals. It's great to have lots of goals but which ones are worthy of your best attention and efforts? Remember, you can have anything you want in your life.

You just can't have EVERYTHING you want.

What three things would you like to master? Three things at which you want to become an expert. Maybe it's speaking in public. Perhaps you want to learn another language. Or maybe you want to become a masterful parent. It's your life and you get to decide.

By making good use of the Rule of Three, you'll sharpen your focus, increase your effectiveness and experience greater fulfillment in all that you do.