When seeking advice on how to live better, many have found that rules of three, well, rule, so to speak, as they are often more digestible than longer treatises.
One recent example: Actor André De Shields drew attention last year when, during his Tony Awards acceptance speech, he offered the three rules of longevity he’s learned: 1) Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming, 2) Slowly is the fastest way to get to where your want to be, and 3) The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.
And, maybe you’ve seen the following popular graphic online:
…I cry my eyes out and I dry up my heart…
…close both of my eyes
And sing my thank yous to each and every moment of my life…
…take a breath and bow and I let that chapter end
I design my future bright not by where my life has been
And I try, try, try, try
In other words, 1) grieve, 2) express gratitude, and 3) move forward.
Psychologist Daniel Tomasulo‘s three rules for a positive transformation (Psych Central):
- Change takes time.
- Notice and allow the changes.
- Be the change.
- Cultivate your talents.
- Accept yourself.
- Seek out new experiences.
- Accept the unchangeable.
- Change the changeable.
- Avoid the unacceptable.
The recently published book by former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, Three Rules for Living a Good Life: A Game Plan for after Graduation, expands on the following:
- Do what is right.
- Do everything to the best of your ability.
- Show people you care.
But it’s not just the modern world that’s produced rules of three.
Writer Henry James(1843-1916): Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.