The Rule of Three: Optimism, Satisfaction and Joy

During our lunches at a modest Mexican restaurant in Blacksburg, Virginia, my friend Don Taylor dispensed his wisdom to me. One lesson stands out. “You can only do four things well in life. Since you must have adequate sleep to be happy and productive, this leaves three other things that you can do effectively.”

That’s The Rule of Three (TRoT): Pick three things and do them as well as possible.

Don and I believe in the importance of devoting ourselves to our families, friends and communities. After we ticked that off, as per TRoT  we could now only do two other things well as professionals. My two choices are academic leadership and engineering research.

I spent considerable time last week with industry and tech leaders, alumni, current and prospective students and their parents.  We discussed our passion for three things: dedication to healthy families and communities; enthusiasm for student engagement; and desire to further innovation.

Restated in terms of Twitter-accessible TRoT, these are #family, #engagement and #innovation. Taken together, these three hashtags are the mantra of my academic life.

As I observe my colleagues and partners develop a robust environment that ensures the success of our graduates, I observe another rule of three.  Their work brings to others optimism, satisfaction and joy.

In the coming weeks, some of you will select McMaster Engineering as the destination for your university studies.  I am delighted to welcome you to our community and campus.

The Rule of Three when you join us:

  1. We will help you understand why there is reason to be optimistic that you can change the world for the better.
  2. We will help you become satisfied by enabling you to learn to design your own lives.
  3. We will celebrate your accomplishments with joy, along with you.

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