Paper, Rock, Scissors & the Power of Three

Paper - Rock - Scissors
Paper covers rock. Rock smashes scissors. Scissors cut paper.

Who can forget Paper, Rock, Scissors (PRS)?! Do you remember playing it as a kid? It did everything from settle small disputes and dares to being a pass time during long car rides. I remember one time when my brother and I were kids, we were headed Up North riding in back of dad's pickup truck (back in the day when that sort of thing was actually legal... I know shocking isn't it?!). Anyway, it was cold and boring in the back of that camper top, so we began playing PRS. Now you have to understand, when my brother and I played PRS it was with a lot of "vigor" that only young brothers can have toward one another. You see it wasn't just a matter of paper covering rock, rock covering scissors and scissors cutting paper, oh no, that would have been to forgiving. No, when we did it, it didn't mean much unless it hurt! So, when the paper covered rock we would slap the inside of the losers wrist or on the hand to drive home the point that it pays to be the winner and sucks to lose! We would first wet our finger tips because we thought that it made the slap more painful. Rock would SMASH the scissors. Which meant that you would use the meaty part of your fist (hammer fist) and hit the hand of the loser. And as for scissors cutting paper; the winner would squeeze, twist and bend the fingers of the loser between his pointer and middle fingers, nearly breaking bones as a morbid sort of victory ritual to get the point across. 

We must have been doing this with such enthusiasm because apparently we were rocking the truck so much that our folks took notice. Mom and dad yelled at us a few times. I remember my brother and I trying to play the game but with less fervor so we didn't get in trouble. Funny the thought of playing the game straight without our traditional punishments never really occurred to us, so tired of telling us to stop, my dad finally pulled the truck over and trumped our PRS strategy with his belt hits ass tactic! (Also illegal in today's world... geeze dad, you'd be in prison for shenanigans like that today!) Very effective I must say. After that we calmed down and stopped our game, we tried to sit quietly on our now sore bums, until we reached the Mackinaw bridge. 

So what does my childhood story of stupid games, unsafe transportation practices and abusive child disciplinary actions have anything to do with anything? Well besides realizing that growing up in the 70's & 80's was much different than it seems to be today... I didn't really give that old game much thought until recently.

What I came to realize after decades of teaching people how to live more empowered lives is we have a hard time remembering much more than 3 concepts at a time. It was when I remembered that old game that every kid used to play that it struck me! 


That's right. I saw that people had a hard time remembering a laundry list of concepts and details, but they could remember three or maybe four things without much problem at all. This was important especially under stress when we actually want LESS options to choose from rather than more. With that in mind I began breaking everything I taught, every concept, strategy, tactic and technique down into three's or sometimes four concepts or groupings. The more I stick to that formula the more effective I saw students absorbing and applying the new concepts. 

Once I figured this out and saw its success the challenging part became formatting and adapting everything I teach into this new method. So far, so good though! It is coming along well!

Now you might not be a trainer, but think of ways that the Paper, Rock, Scissor method can streamline your life and career?! Communications, goals.,Training methods, things to practice, points to cover in a meeting, you name it. If you give this a try you might surprise yourself in how effective it is and how much of a profound difference it can make when trying to communicate, share ideas or clarify & set goals.

Learn how to share the point you are trying to get accross in no more than four (4) points. Keep in mind each point can have up to four (4) sub points and those sub points can in turn have sub points etc. but the main concept is to break things down to their most important elements in a clear and concise way to make things more learn-able and useable.

Give it a try!

Paper, Rock, Scissors... On three...



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