Omne trium perfectum is Latin for "everything that comes in threes is perfect.” The Rule of Three is a principle of writing that holds that things that come in threes are more satisfying, humorous and effective than other numbers of things. Hearing, seeing and learning things in threes tends to help us better remember them.
We are so used to the Rule of Three that we rarely notice its presence all about us in advertising, storytelling, speaking, and (of course) writing. For example, think how certain tripartite phrases have become part of our lexicon: “The good, the bad and the ugly,” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” “I came, I saw, I conquered,” “Faith, hope and charity,” and for literature buffs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
The rule of three is also used to great effect in comedy when two normal items are followed by a non sequitur. A classic example comes from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when Chevy Chase’s character Clark Griswold says to his half-wit cousin, “Can I refill your egg nog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”
As humans we just like getting things in threes. We even like to say that “good things come in threes.” An example near and dear to our hearts is TestOut Corporation being named one of Utah’s 50 Happiest Companies, by Utah Business Magazine for the third year in a row — a three-peat!
Utah’s 50 Happiest Companies were recognized for their efforts to “go above and beyond to make their offices comfortable and engaging places for their employees.”
Ever since the first boss hired the first employee, people have been asking what aspects of a job make an employee happy. Of course salary ranks high for most people, but surprisingly not as high as you might think. According to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, which surveyed over 200,000 employees around the world, salary ranked 8th out of 10. (Just remember that people lie their heads off on studies and surveys, and that it all depends on how you phrase the question.)
The top two reasons employees like their jobs are, “An appreciation for their work,” and “Good relationships with coworkers.” Thus it’s clear why TestOut is a three-time winner. I know a number of these people and they are some pretty fine folk. Besides talented and professional, they always seem to be smiling, and are more than willing to go the extra mile to help others.
TestOut offers a slew of employee amenities like an on-site gym, Salsa Wednesdays, time off for birthdays, and a full contact Halloween costume and decorating contest — but what really makes the company a three-time winner is the employees. They are the type of people who give credence to the claim that, “It’s not just what you’re doing, but who you’re doing it with.”
Congratulations, TestOut! And good luck on a four-peat!
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. Calvin was not aware that "three-peat" is Pat Riley's personally registered trademark. Maybe there's still time to lock up "four-peat."
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