Regardless of your profession, The Power of Three can help you.

If you interact with people – and who doesn’t? – you will find that using this tool will uncover alternatives you may not have considered, solutions that have eluded you and attract people into your life in new ways.

The Basics

The Human Mind

  • The human mind organizes in odd numbers
  • People like to have options, multiple alternatives
  • The smallest odd-numbered multiple is three

We’re Not Binary

Computers are binary, “It’s just 1’s and 0’s,” according to programmers. Humans are multidimensional. We are capable of developing alternatives far beyond anything the most sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine can produce.



Successful negotiating requires the Power of Three. A simple example is the seller who is asking $3 for their product and the buyer who wants to pay $1. What do you think the ultimate sales price will be? Probably, something like $1.50 – and that might be okay at a garage sale.

In business, however, the seller would need a third alternative: a reason why the buyer would be willing to meet their asking price. And the buyer would need reasons why the seller should capitulate to their lower offer. There is usually a third alternative, in this case one that focuses on something other than price.

The seller could educate the buyer about unique features that would have specific value for them. The buyer could teach the seller that the competition seems to have the same offering at a lower price. In value-added selling, this should alert the salesperson to probe and uncover what the differences are in their differentiation.

Even Simple Decisions

After introducing The Power of 3 to a group of CEOs, I asked one if he had to choose, would he choose to lose his left eye or his left hand. He answered, “Left eye.”

The group stared at him for a moment and then, realizing the topic at hand, added a third option: “Neither!”

There is usually a third alternative.

We Forget

Look, we don’t live in an “either/or world” and sometimes we forget that. I do, and I teach this regularly! It is human nature and human nature does not change. Behaviors can change and our nature as humans can evolve slowly with a concentrated effort. But in our day-to-day encounters, we tend to follow our natural patterns.

More is Coming

In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we will look at how often you may be subjected to The Power of Three. You will even recognize it more frequently in your daily decisions from the food you eat to the car you drive.

In one-on-one conversations this week, consider what third alternatives might be viable when discussing any important topic.

“If I have two executives who think alike, I have one too many executives.” – Lee Iacocca