The Rule of Thirds

March 8, 2021

My business recently turned one, and I’ve taken some time to reflect on what the past year has been like. Honestly, it’s been a total mix. Some good days, some great days, some okay days, and some pretty bad days.

When I have one of these bad days or even just an okay day, I can feel my negativity bias kicking in. I start questioning my abilities as a writer, or as a teacher, or as a business owner.

It’s at moments like these that I often turn to mentors and other inspiring people in my life for perspective or advice.

Olympic athlete, poet, and filmmaker Alexi Pappas has nuggets galore when it comes to soulful advice to keep me grounded.

One lesson she shares in her new book Bravey is called The Rule of Thirds.

When she was facing a difficult training period before the Rio Olympics, her coach (also an Olympian) told her not to worry, this was simply The Rule of Thirds. He said:

“When you're chasing a big goal, you're supposed to feel good a third of the time, okay a third of the time, and crappy a third of the time...and if the ratio is roughly in that range, then you're doing fine.”

This hit me hard. It’s a potent reminder that progress never feels linear. It’s often a whole lot of nothing, and then a big leap forward. It’s also a reminder that finding the right balance in pushing too hard vs. not enough is tough.

If you’re working towards a goal, but are always feeling great about it, you might want to inch closer to your edge. On the flip side, if you are having too many crappy days, it might be a sign of burnout approaching and a signal to pull back.

Above all else, The Rule of Thirds can shift our perspective on the okay days, whether that is in a relationship, a job, or chasing an athletic dream.

Those okay days aren’t something to shrug off, they are a part of the process of growth. By shifting this mindset, we can learn to love them too.

Words of Wisdom

"Good thing I didn't accomplish all my goals yet
because then what would I do tomorrow? — Alexi Pappas