Law of Threes

The podcast I look forward to more than any other is “The BS Report” by Bill Simmons of ESPN, otherwise known as “The Sports Guy”. Last week he referenced an article written by Mike Lombardi about the Law of Threes.

The Law of Threes states that on any team or organization you’ll have three types of people:

  1. Those who will do everything asked of them.
  2. Those who are undecided and don’t know what to do.
  3. Those who buck the system and want to disrupt everyone else. 

Lombardi used the Law of Threes to describe why the New York Giants continue to win football games in spite of the actions of one of their star players. He credits the coach for focusing on those players in group #1. This creates a culture where some of those in camp #2 step into line with the team. Meanwhile those in group #3 may occasionally cause drama, but aren’t able to bring the team down. If the coach has done his job, the players feel the team is greater than any individual player.

Picture of Anna Lynn, tester of the Law of Threes

I’ve been giving some thought to how the Law of Threes plays out in our home. Our first three children easily slide into each category. If I were to ask each of them to grab two Diet Cokes from the fridge downstairs and return to the kitchen here’s how it would play out:

Luca would immediately grab them and return.

Lincoln would casually head down the stairs. Halfway there he’d forget why and where he was going and return to the kitchen with a confused look on his face.

Anna would do a little dance, smack her butt, and give me a high five before running off to catch the next Scooby Doo on Boomerang.

According to the Law of Threes, I should focus my energy on Luca and hope Lincoln eventually falls into place. But, unlike a coach, I can’t trade Anna to another family for a daughter to be named later. I must drum up the patience to work with her. To love her. Although she can be frustrating, she brings a large dose of comedy to our home.

I wouldn’t trade her for anyone.

Even Lebron.

9 thoughts on “Law of Threes

  1. I love this. I have three daughters at home and that same senerio would have played out as well. Though I might be tempted to trade that third kid…


  2. This was a sweet post that put a smile on my face. It must be nice to have such diverse children.

    I have to say as I child, I’d have been a 2/3 combo. I’d have done a dance, smacked my butt, then gone to the kitchen to forget why I went and brought you a rootbeer instead.


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