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Ever Wonder Why We Count to Three?

Ever Wonder Why We Count to Three?

January 9, 2007 was the day Steve Jobs introduced the first generation of the iPhone. It’s a seminal moment in technology history (and societal history) — the iPhone changed almost everything about how we interact with each other and brands, with Android and others soon following suit in the market. Beyond what the moment represented, the presentation itself is interesting.[1]

Jobs was famous for using expressions like “Wait, there’s more” or “Another thing” in his presentations, and he even opened the 2007 presentation by discussing the three revolutionary products they’d be introducing:

  • The first, a widescreen iPod with touch controls
  • The second, is a revolutionary mobile phone
  • And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device

    As the audience applauded, Jobs eventually said,

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    “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, they are one device and we are calling it iPhone!”

    The way Jobs structured his presentation is a concept called “The Rule of 3.” What is that exactly, and why is it so special?

    The Power of Three

    The Rule of 3 is a writing principle described in Roy Peter Clark’s book How To Write Short. It suggests that events or characters introduced in three are more humorous, satisfying, and effective in execution of a message and engaging the audience. The audience is more likely to remember the information conveyed and it makes the speaker appear knowledgeable while being both simple and catchy.

    Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights activist and preacher, was known for his uses of tripling and the Rule of 3 throughout his many influential speeches.

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      His speech “Non-Violence and Racial Justice” contained a binary opposition of the rule of three:[2]

      “insult, injustice and exploitation”,

      followed by a few lines,

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      “justice, good will, and brotherhood.”

      In short, a list of three things is more intriguing than just two things, but much easier to remember than 5 or 10 things. It’s more comprehensive with more options, but not too many options that can overwhelm the audience or anyone who needs to make a decision with this information.

      Consider a situation where you have one option or piece of information. It doesn’t seem comprehensive, and you have nothing to compare it to.

      Two pieces of information is slightly better, but anytime you have two options, you are invited to do a direct compare and contrast. That inherently makes things seem more extreme and removes a degree of objectivity.

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      Now consider three. It offers a bigger sense of the whole. It’s more comprehensive than two options, and it provides different angles to the idea in question — but not an overwhelming number of angles.

      Count to Three for Everything

      You can apply the Rule of 3 to almost everything.

      • When you explain something, try three examples. Steve Jobs above is an example.
      • When you want to convince people, try three reasons. We need to take a vacation this year because we deserve it, we got the right bonuses at work, and there is a deal on Switzerland.
      • Before you make a decision, consider three options. Always find that third possibility so you have a broader array of angles.

      The Rule of 3 can be a powerful play in your life. It helped seminal figures like Jobs and King craft some of their most important presentations ever. Try it and see what it can do for you.

      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Leon Ho

      Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

      What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually)

      What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually)

      It’s Monday again… The annoying alarm breaks the piece of silence you are enjoying. You keep pressing snooze and don’t want to leave your bed. As the hour hand points to 8, every muscle in your body feels sore.

      You arrive your office and turn on the computer at your seat. Everything seems so normal, except your mind wanders… you’re feeling bored at work…

      If this sounds familiar to you, chances are you feel bored at work, and you are probably here to look for ways to get rid of this dreadful situation.

      In this article, I’ll look into why you may feel bored at work, the little-known consequence of it and what to do when bored at work.

      The Real Reason Why You’re Bored at Work

      Boredom reveals the potential problems you have at work:

      Your interest and your work don’t match.

      It’s very common that our work doesn’t match our interest, but we might not realize it sometimes. It’s good for you to think about why you applied for this job and why you started your job at the first place:

      Because the salary was attractive? Or you had no other options but this job interview? Or you just wanted a new environment?

      If these are your major concerns, you need to reconsider your interests in this job.

      You’re not using your capabilities fully.

      Everyone has their strengths and talents. When your capabilities are not fully utilized at your job, you may find the assigned tasks not challenging at all.

      Worse still, you may start to question your value in your company and gradually lose motivation at work.

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      You have little opportunity for growth and learning.

      Imagine you do the same tasks for two weeks, or two months, or two years, over and over. How would you feel? I’m sure you’ll be bored to death.

      If your company doesn’t provide enough opportunities to grow and learn, and you can’t see any improvement, you will start to get disappointed and probably feel bored at your job.

      You have too much idle time.

      It’s important to take breaks at work. But when you are too free, it is a problem.

      When you have too much idle time, your mind wanders off to somewhere else:

      Thinking about where to eat, your relationship problems, or what your neighbor said this morning.

      Although your mind is occupied, these thoughts are generated because you are bored.

      You feel exhausted and tired.

      You have so many goals to achieve in life or things to manage beyond work. It’s easy to shift your attention and energy away from your work because you are too occupied with other parts of your life.

      While you pay less effort at work, the less motivated and interested you are in your job, which in turn bores you even more.

      You have no clear goal.

      People who have stayed in a position for a long time easily feel lost.

      You start to get confused with what you want to obtain from the job. You get used to your repeating daily routine and gradually lose your passion and interests in your job.

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      The Little-Known Consequences of Ignoring Your Boredom

      You might think it’s okay to deal with your boredom later, but the longer you put this problem on hold, the more consequences you will face.

      Don’t ignore your boredom, it might take a toll on you!

      Increased stress

      A number of readers of Stress Relief Workshop commented:[1]

      • Boring jobs can be really stressful.
      • Feeling like your skills are going to waste in your current job can be stressful.

      Developing bad habits

      Experts reckon people relieve their boredom by drinking alcohol, indulging in unhealthy food, or carrying out risky actions at work.

      When you leave your problem unsolved, you might find stimulation elsewhere to override your boredom.

      Poor mental health

      A study[2] shows an upsetting fact young adults or fresh graduates may develop depressions or black moods, because they:

      “find themselves having to do work that doesn’t stretch them and keep them fulfilled.”

      Low productivity

      Like I mentioned before, when you are bored and uninterested in what you do, your productivity drops drastically.

      6 Things to Do When You’re Bored at Work

      Boredom won’t go away unless you take actions.

      So how to cure boredom? Fortunately there are ways you can change the situation:

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      1. Tell your boss or supervisor about your working situation

      It’s always good for you to talk to your boss or supervisor if they welcome feedback. They should be the right people to talk to as they can understand and help you.

      You can request for more challenging tasks or work that fit your interests. This can not only get you out from boredom, your boss will also appreciate your willingness to improve and learn.

      2. Try to do more than you are expected to

      To use your ability and time fully, try to do more than what your boss requires. After you finish the repetitive or unchallenging tasks, spend some time to take on tasks that are beyond your responsibilities.

      As time goes by, your boss will notice and recognize your work ethic. You may get interesting tasks in the future to keep you going!

      3. Learn new skills when you are free

      If you have too much downtime, expand your knowledge and learn something new. A well-equipped person is always the gem in a boss’ eyes.

      For example, if you work in the design team but are not familiar with the use of design software, it’s a good chance for you to have some self-learning time.

      4. Know what you want from your job

      This is important — when you know your goal, it can motivate you to work!

      It’s fine to take some time to discover your goal and passion. But please remember to jot it down on a note and stick it on your desk as a reminder.

      You may also consider some career advice if you need help.

      5. Take breaks to fight exhaustion

      Taking rest is a preparatory step for a longer journey ahead. Don’t ever hesitate to take a break. You need it!

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      It’s crucial for you if you want to achieve more. Just get back to work when you feel ready. Don’t underestimate the power of a short break!

      6. Quit your job if it’s holding you back

      If you still find your work boring after trying every single method above, you should consider quitting your current job.

      Opportunities are everywhere, there may be a better job waiting for you.

      Make a change in your life and treat yourself better!

      Final Thoughts

      When you feel bored at work, it’s actually a warning sign you shouldn’t overlook. It could mean you’re missing a purpose in life.

      If you let this boredom continue, you’re putting your mental health and happiness at stake.

      Stop doing the same thing every day and let yourself feel bored. Start making a change to make yourself feel enthusiastic again about your career and your life.

      Featured photo credit: officevibe via officevibe.com

      Reference

      [1] Life Stress Balls: Stress at work
      [2] Sunday Post: Being bored at work is bad for your health

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