Yesterday I turned 30. Not one to be scared of a little thing like a number, I am embracing the new 3 in my life. I like 3: the 3 little pigs, the 3 musketeers, we 3 kings… it’s nice, it’s balanced.
I think it is a good time for me to explore the balance in my life too. Family, work and friends; a tripod is a pretty sturdy structure and if you have strength in these three it won’t fall down.
Three. It’s a powerful number. When it comes to communication we use it a lot. Presentations, websites, emails, design… our brains like to process things in threes. Three is enough to build tension and release it, with three you can construct the joke and hit them with the punch line; three is more exciting, it’s funnier, it has more impact. Communicating in threes allows you to express a concept, emphasise it and make it memorable.
The latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” (everything is perfect in threes) applies a lot in writing. Advertising slogans regularly employ it: “A Mars a day helps you work rest and play”… “Stop, Look and Listen”… “Education, Education, Education”… The Rule of Three goes back to the writing of Aristotle, it’s the oldest trick in the book.
When you are putting together any piece of work it needs a three in its structure; a beginning, middle and end. For speeches and presentations it’s about telling them what you are going to say, saying it, then telling them what you said. And if your audience will only be taking away three messages from your words, make sure it’s the right three: plan them out, link them up, make them clear.
I’m looking forward to the next ten years with my new 3. I am spending a bit of time doing the ‘birthday thing’ and reflecting, looking at my tripod and feeling pretty lucky. Keeping those three pillars sturdy is my priority, but I know that for as long as they are I’ve got a strong foundation to keep on building.
And that’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.