Threesology Research Journal
Examples of "Threes"-oriented Web Pages
page 5

~ The Study of Threes ~

The following are references culled from other websites regarding the number 3 or have "three" as a focus, though other labeling may be used. Please give all respective authors their due credits. Links to their websites are provided following each section. However, it must be noted that some of the links may not be viable since the information was compiled in 2004 or earlier.

The Three Emphasis

Enneagram point Three is characterized by an excessive emphasis on image, status and productiveness. This emphasis on status and achievement often produces personalities that are given the label "workaholic." Threes tend to be optimistic, upbeat, efficient, hard driving achievers, who find themselves in a constant battle with time. They will try to do as much as possible in a limited time frame and time is perceived as an "enemy" rather than a dimension. When the battle with the clock becomes habitual and aggressive, the end result will be intense mental and physical stress. In fact point Three is the point primarily being described in the book Type A Behavior and Your Heart by Friedmann and Rosenman, published in 1974. The authors talk about polyphasic thinking and polyphasic activity to help describe the behavior of their Type A heart patients. Helen Palmer described Threes the same, way (The Enneagram, 1988). Robert Lincoln, in his Doctoral thesis The Relationship Between Depth, Psychology and Protoanalysis links each enneagram point with a specific body part., Point Three is linked to the heart.

Threes Under Stress

Under stress, a Three will tend to demonstrate some of the more fixated aspects of Enneagram point Nine. They will narcotize, lose focused interest in themselves and trivialize the importance and significance of their problems. As a physical illness is also a mental stress, many of the Threes I have interacted with as a pharmacist have demonstrated Nine narcotization, others have shown the hard-driving attributes so characteristic of point Three.

--- A Clinical Pharmacist's View of the Enneagram Three ---
by Dr. Paul Boroff


...Finally, no list of themes would be complete without perhaps the theme of 'THREEs' which has probably the most collectors at least in the United Kingdom. This theme requires that the word 'Three' appears in the title. The two well known examples are the Three Stars for Sweden and Three Torches from Belgium, but the list is endless. The West & Midland Match Label Society published a catalogue of labels with a threes theme in 1995. Copies are still available. A few examples follow.

Three aces matchbox cover Three poodles matchbox cover Three magpies matchbox cover

--- What to collect ---
(Matchbox Label Collectors)

--- Click here to see more 'Threes' labels ---

Note: For the serious collector of "Threes" (whether your interest is specifically matchbook covers or more eclectic like my own), the "Threes matchbook catalogue" is a "Must Have" item for your own collection. You can purchase one via an E-mail order from --- Peter Campion --- (

Depending on where you live, Peter will calculate the cost of shipping according to the rate of monetary exchange at the time of order. The catalogue size is approximately 8¼ X 11¼ and is 72 pages in length. It provides credits for compilation assistance, listing by country, and numerous black and white illustrations towards the rear. (While there are no colorized examples of covers in the catalogue, it is still an excellent addition to the collection of any serious Threes researcher.)

Introduction To The Threes
by Yvonne Rathbone

The number Three represents the integration of an initial idea, action or feeling and its response. In the One we saw unity, initiation, beginning. In the Two we saw the possibilities of movement and therefore relationship. Now in the Three, we find the interaction between the two poles represented by the One and the Two.

Fairy Tales

We see this relationship often in stories and fairy tales. Heroes have to perform some action three times before they succeed at the task which transforms them. The hero's first attempt represents initiation and a commitment to action. The second attempt represents a response to that action, either from the hero's environment or subconscious. The final attempt represents the integration of the first two tries. Goldilocks first eats food that is too hot (yang) and then too cold (yin) until she finds a healthy integration in food that is "just right."

Fairy tales are full of Three's. Read through some fairy tales and look for them (I recommend the unabridged Brother's Grimm.) There might be 3 brothers, or 3 tasks or 3 trials or attempts. Often the same phrases are repeated 3 times in the story.

--- Threes Everyday ---

by Kirby Tepper M.A.

Great art has always thrived on "threes." Great performing, literature, and public speaking each thrive on "the rule of threes." Aristotle talked about "the three unities" of time, place and action–which is way too fancy to talk about here, but take my word for it; the guy knew what he was talking about. Other great authors and teachers taught us to consider the balance of threes when writing, and it’s developed into a fine way to tell a story. Other Power publicspeakingTM articles talk about this, especially referring the writing of speeches. Using the "Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis" idea (which sounds fancier than it is; see the articles on writing), great speeches have a sense of balance to them.

Similarly, jokes can have a sense of balance when you use "the rule of threes." Basically, it goes, "setup, setup, punch line:"

  1. Set up the joke, giving important information about the situation. Don’t leave out info that’s essential to understanding the joke.
  2. Describe the situation or "event" that is the central part of the joke.
  3. Put your own spin, word, or tell the climax of the story—ending on the funny line!!!

Here are Some examples of the rule of 3s which aren't related to humor necessarily, but do give you an idea how the "Rule of 3s" works in many areas of writing. These examples are also found in the article on --- The Basic Structure of the Speech ---.

In good writing, the "rule of 3s" applies often.

In Playwriting:

  • Status Quo (set up the world as it is now).
  • Introduce new elements, problems, new situations, that cause change.
  • Show how Status Quo has changed.

In Film Writing:

  • Complication affects Normal Life.
  • Work out resulting problems of that complication.
  • Return to A Newer "Normal Life".

In Writing Thesis or Term Papers:

  • Thesis or Hypothesis (Main idea).
  • Body of Paper explaining findings (Antithesis).
  • Synthesis and summary.

Scientific Journal Articles:

  • Hypothesis.
  • Experiment.
  • Results.

--- Rule of Threes ---

The Power of Three--and a Dash to the Finish
by Donald Wilson

There's power--some would say magical power--in things that come in threes. In the Christian tradition, there's Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the universal human context, there's sun, moon, and stars, also morning, noon, and night. We want a story to have a beginning, a middle, and an end--and so much the better if the story deals with boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.& For whatever reason, the human psyche finds profound meaning in the arrangement of elements in threes. (We're even drawn to jokes about threes; I bet you've heard the one about the priest, the minister, and the rabbi.)

What am I getting at? Only that the natural human desire to arrange elements in threes can noticeably enhance our writing. For thanks to ancient rhetoric, we have at our disposal the device known as tricolon (a Greek word meaning "three-limbed"). Tricolon boasts quite a pedigree. It goes back to Homer and Vergil in antiquity, yet modern writers, too, have used it with stunning effectiveness.

First, hear the somberness, the gravity in this appeal to a jury by the ancient Roman orator Cicero: "You must listen; you must weigh; you must decide."

Next, hear the resonance, the majesty in Abraham Lincoln's immortal tribute to the Union dead at Gettysburg:

"We cannot dedicate,
we cannot consecrate,
we cannot hallow this ground."

I dare you to use tricolon in your writing. It isn't at all difficult; give it a couple of tries and you'll get the knack of it. And use it in moderation-- keep it in reserve for special emphasis, when you want to hammer an important point home. But try it. You will delight your readers; you will impress your English teacher; you will add a powerful weapon to your writer's arsenal.

--- The Power of Three ---

The "Third Wave" of Human Evolution!
A New Model for Living in an Inter-Dependent World!
-A memo from the desk of Mitch Axelrod-

The first wave was dependence - the norm during the agricultural society of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the industrial society of the first half of the 20th century. People worked "for" someone else, and depended upon that company for security and economic survival. We looked to authority to protect us, and the government to "socially" secure us.

The second wave was independence - came into being in the second half of the 20th century, and exploded on the scene during the go-go '80s. With technology, the information age and "free-agent" society, the second wave of independence hit critical mass in the 1990's. The NEW American dream isn't home ownership, it is BUSINESS OWNERSHIP. More people than ever want to be self-employed and independent - and live life as an entrepreneur.

The third wave is INER-DEPENDENCE - the human state of trying to cope with a world of billions of people, new choices and alternatives spiraling out of control, life moving at the speed of light, where nobody can keep up with the impossible pace of information explosion and unprecedented change. Anthony Newley recorded a hit song that expresses life more accurately in the year 2000 than it did when it was recorded in the 1960's... "Stop the world... I wanna get off!"

--- The "Third Wave" of Human Evolution! ---
A Power of ThreesTM Special Report...

They Always Come in Threes
by Tim McElligott

With jokes and fairy tales, everything comes in threes: three little pigs, three blind mice, the three bears. Communications technology, which was pretty much a fairy tale over the last few years but is definitely no joke now, also comes in threes: voice, video and data; ILEC, CLEC and IXC; circuit, packet and ATM.

So when a technology company designs a new network analyzer, why not make one that tests mobile, data and IP for services, signaling and infrastructure that offers power, breadth and flexibility in either a fully integrated, distributed or software format?& Agilent Technologies did.

Simply called the New Network Analyzer, Agilent's new test tool helps installation and maintenance technicians troubleshoot networks more efficiently by combining tools for various networks into one analyzer. How many networks? Three: LAN, WAN and ATM.

--- They Always Come in Threes ---

What is ThirdAge? is an integral part of ThirdAge Inc., an online media and direct marketing company focused exclusively on serving the needs of first-wave baby boomers -- midlife adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Our vision throughout the ThirdAge network of sites is to transform the voice of aging from limitation to possibility throughout the world.

Inspired by the French term Troisiéme Âge, ThirdAge refers to the idea of lifelong learning and to the period of life following young adulthood, a time characterized by happiness, freedom and personal growth and enrichment. Our audience -- as well as others experiencing this lifestage -- are ThirdAgers.

More than a million and a half members of have grown to trust us on the issues, interests and needs that matter most to them: relationships, romance, health, wellness, well-being, spirituality and personal growth and development.

We have spent seven years understanding and focusing on the ThirdAge audience and serving them by providing relevant content, products, services and community forums to learn and share with other like-minded individuals.

Founded in 1996 as ThirdAge Media, the company was acquired in 2000 by In 2001, private investors, led by 8 Wings Ventures LLC, purchased the company, which was then renamed ThirdAge Inc.

--- Third AgeTM ---

The Rule of Threes

Here's an elegant approach to creating a buzz -- that highly sought-after "word of mouth" that marketers prize above all things. It resonates with everything I know about successful marketing, and it's a keystone of the Authentic Promotion process.

Here it is in brief:

1. Consider the new result or outcome you want to manifest. For example, a successful coach might wish to develop a speaking business.

2. Consider the way you need to be perceived in the world in order to create that result.

3. Create three messages about you that are true and that, if widely known, would bring about this result. For example:

  1. I love to get folks excited about marketing, especially people who think they dislike it.
  2. I have material for keynotes, workshops, and seminars on marketing for professionals.
  3. I bridge the gap between meaning and prosperity and I do it with a sense of humor.

4. Choose three venues or media in which to "place" these messages. Extending the above example, you might choose from among the following:

  • An email newsletter
  • Face to face networking events
  • Press releases
  • Free monthly marketing seminar
  • Articles you send to professional associations to use in their newsletters

5. Place the messages at least three times in each venue/media within three months.

The Rule of Threes prescribes simple, specific steps that result in a buzz that will, ultimately, establish you as the person you need to be in the public eye to get the results you want. It requires that you really BE this person, so it is important to reflect carefully as you craft the messages you will disseminate.

Now's a perfect time to craft your own Rule of Threes project for the coming year. What results do you want to manifest in 2003? Who do you need to be in order to manifest them? Where and how will you declare yourself to be this person?

A final caveat: the Rule of Threes is a process of seeding new realities. It is important to allow time for the seeds to sprout and develop healthy new growth. Expect results four to five months after you begin the process. Your best results are likely to come from friends of friends of people who encountered your messages first hand.

[I learned about The Rule of Three's from Kim Krisco's book "Leadership and the Art of Conversation." It is out of print, but well worth looking for in used bookstores.]

--- The New LeafTM: The Rule of Threes ---

The following is an article for the skeptic:

Things Don’t Happen In Threes

Daily Herald June 23, 1984

Expecting the worst usually results in the worst. Life is shaped more by your expectations than you realize. One example of this expectation is the sometimes humorous, but also sometimes serious, way that people will refer to two unpleasant events that have happened recently in their life. They often comment, "Well, something else unpleasant is going to happen soon to make it three." Unhappy events don’t happen in three’s, two’s or any other superstitious number. Unhappy events occur one at a time.

People often forget that happy events occur as well, and also, one at a time. Yet how quickly many people discount or forget the positive or happy events in their life, and focus on their unpleasant experiences.

Just as your eyes use lenses to focus and adjust to your visual experiences in life, your mind shapes and focuses your reaction to events in your life.

If you think negatively, you will likely feel badly, and end up acting badly, either towards yourself or others. Your mind will develop and act on the thoughts you give it.

Many circumstances of life grow out of thoughts and beliefs. People who succeed in life, at whatever it is they attempt, do so partly because of their belief that they are a success. Success is an internal attitude. Material or financial success does not always equal personal success in life.

People who believe they are a failure will end up as a failure, regardless of what opportunities are provided them. Until you believe in yourself, you will find it almost impossible to succeed.

Realizing you own your expectations is critical for success. Expectations don’t always turn into reality, but positive expectations give a person the energy and strength to deal effectively with whatever occurs, regardless of whether it is what you wanted to happen.

Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist, noted that his fellow prisoners in a German concentration camp during the 40’s would live or die, mainly based on their belief in themselves and their will to live.

You can also "will" unhappy events to occur in threes. Sure, after the third event, you may say to yourself, "Well, that’s it for my bad luck now". Yet, what happens when, later on, a fourth unhappy event occurs. You then start to expect further unhappy events to occur in your life.

Things happen one at a time. Whether they are seen as the worst or the best is determined by you alone.

One effective way of living is to look for something positive in everything that happens, even though, there may be negative or unhappy aspects to the event. By focusing on the positives, you end up with a positive attitude towards life, and positive living. Things happen, one thing at a time, and how you see or interpret them is the most important thing of all.

--- Things Don't Happen in Threes ---

H.O.B. Note: Some Journalists like to call the number 3 a "superstitious number" when in actuality, the number 3 has no inherent form of superstition, magic, or spirituality. Such labels are due to humans imposing their own biases on such a symbol to give their views a greater distinction through the suggestion of a recurring pattern within the context of their own definition relative to notions commonly accepted without any particular validity other than frequently verbalized repetitive accounts.


Subject: Threes
Category: --- Reference, Education and News ---
Asked by: dtnl42-ga
Posted: 24 Sep 2004 12:14 PDT
Expires: 24 Oct 2004 12:14 PDT
Question ID: 405893

When communicating, providing "lists" or events in threes seems so much more powerful than two's e.g. The future we dream and desire is not nearly as powerful as the future we dream, desire and deserve. Why is this the case - is it something to do with the way people think and please provide a source for as many three's(e.g. hook, line, sinker ; game, set, match) as you can, and I will pay a $15 bonus for a source of the most powerful threes used in speeches over the years.


Subject: Re: Threes
From: gle-ga on 24 Sep 2004 17:42 PDT

This website might be a small beginning: --- ---

Good luck


Subject: Re: Threes
From: niptuck-ga on 25 Sep 2004 03:21 PDT

If you don't mind religion, what about father, son and holy spirit?

Subject: Re: Threes
From: xpertise-ga on 25 Sep 2004 04:19 PDT

From a researcher wanna-be:

Here's what a speech trainer has to say about it:

( --- ---)

Why do so many speakers say things in threes? There are several reasons for this. Well, three to be exact:

Threes are how we normally organize information.
Three force us to focus on important details.
Threes amplify the importance of a concept. is easy for the audience to follow and retain.

But the rule of threes applies in other areas as well:
( --- ---)

In Playwriting:

Status Quo (set up the world as it is now)
Introduce new elements, problems, new situations, that cause change
Show how Status Quo has changed

In Film Writing:

Complication affects Normal Life
Work out resulting problems of that complication
Return to A Newer "Normal Life"

In Writing Thesis or Term Papers:

Thesis or Hypothesis (Main idea)
Body of Paper explaining findings (Antithesis)
Synthesis and summary

Scientific Journal Articles:


So lets look at the history of this "rule of threes":

Rule of threes: Psychology/Trinity

"A pervasive idea in intellectual history has been the notion of threeness as a framework for understanding the world. Georges Dumezil held that the tripartite division was "an ancient habit of language and thought particular to Indo-European peoples" (Davis 33), and Duby followed in showing that "the tripartite conception" was one of " . . . those structural (or systemic) articulations of human experience, with their continuities and interruptions, which inform a cultural history running, in this case, from Indo-European antiquity to the French Revolution" (Bisson vii).

The Indo-European influence no doubt affected Christianity profoundly. Commenting on the major human faculties, Augustine observed: "I would that men would consider these three, that are in themselves" (Confessions 113). The Greeks also felt early the force of threeness in history. "For, as the Pythagoreans say", noted Aristotle with approval, "the world and all that is in it is determined by the number three . . . (359)." Finally, as we shall see, the Renaissance was perhaps even more lavish in finding triplicities in things, and the tripartite concept was very much central to the Enlightenment and the modern period. Whence all this threeness? This essay will attempt a new perspective on this deep-rooted, universal concept, arguing that the multi-faceted implications of these usages reflect, indeed, a master three-fold structuring in the human mind and history, which I call the human trinity."

Finally your definitive source will have to be the:

--- "Threesology Research Journal" (!) ---

It will provide you with hundreds of examples and backgrounds and provides links to other "threes oriented" web-pages.

Good luck!

Subject: Re: Threes
From: russwood-ga on 01 Oct 2004 05:34 PDT

This doesn't answer your question, but might cast some more light on this fascinating concept of threes.

Firstly, TRIANGULATION is used in bushcraft, orienteering, etc., to pinpoint a location; in geometry, to define a point; in mathematics, to establish a proof.

Secondly, the number 3 is regarded by Biblical scholars as the number of "Divine Perfection" - the Trinity is associated with this and has already been mentioned. Another 3 concept is that of MIND-BODY-SPIRIT. Numerologists recognize 3 life stages (life path periods): Early Years - Productive Years - Later Years. Chinese numerology is based on 3 rows of 3 (9 squares on the back of a tortoise).

Thirdly, 3 is the number of multiplicity in Alchemy - makes other numbers possible. Other religions that recognize a 3-part divinity include Hinduism, Taoism, the New Zealand Maori peoples, and Teutonic and Greco-Roman mythologies. Other symbols based on 3 include TRIDENT, FLEUR-DE-LIS, TRIGRAMS, TREFOIL, TRISULA, TRIAD, TRIQUETRA.

Finally - or should I say THIRDLY, - here's a list of other fundamental concepts embodied in threes:

Universal Properties: TIME - SPACE - MATTER
Space: WIDTH - LENGTH - BREADTH (or Height - Length - Width)
Human Volition: THOUGHT - WORD - DEED
Lifespan: BIRTH - LIFE - DEATH

Hope that helps!

Subject: Re: Threes
From: julicollins-ga on 24 Oct 2004 11:00 PDT

Here is an excerpt from' 'Rule of Three' Multiplies Effect of Speech Humor by Ellis Posey:
--- ---


Comedy professor and author Melvin Helitzer claims there's something magic about the number three. Calling them triples, he cites a series of three examples or three alternative solutions offered consecutively. Helitzer thinks of them as jokes on the way to a joke or firecrackers on the way to a big blast.

He points out the Bible is filled with triples, such as the three wise men, the Trinity and others.

Three words of description work well in introducing characters. Or three actions listed consecutively are more effective in building the tension good punch lines depend on than just one or two. Whether it's descriptive words or actions, four always seems to be too many, slowing your story down, and two not enough.

Helitzer recommends no less than three examples, no more than three stories in a sequence on one subject and no more than three minutes on any one theme. To sustain what's called a "roll," he says, "you must build one topper on another -- with a minimum of three."

As an example, Helitzer offers, "My wife's an angel. She's constantly up in the air, continually harping on something and never has anything to wear."


Boom Boom (Boom)

--- Google answers: Threes ---

Latest Updated Posting: Saturday, 17-June-2007... 3:55 PM
Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:
Herb O. Buckland