Parents gotta teach

Remember all the crazy shit your parents used to tell you as a kid?

I sure do because my dad, well, let’s just say he LOOOVES to teach!

My dad NEVER missed an opportunity to espouse his zany ideas on me. My mom on the other hand wasn’t much of a prognosticator. Instead, she let Hollywood (also known as my dad) handle all the teaching.

black and white boy child childhood

To be honest though, I can barely remember any of the stuff my dad tried to teach me through the years.  In fact, I’ve virtually lost every single pearl of wisdom my parents passed on to me through my adolescence…

Except one!

The one lesson I  remember

Of all the lessons my parents gave to me over the years, there is but one lesson that I remember and actually employ today!

My dad calls it the “one-third rule” and basically the rule states this:

“No matter what we do in life, only about one-third of the people we encounter will really like us for who we are…  Another third will be indifferent towards us and harbor neither positive nor negative emotions… Finally, the last third of people we meet will simply not like us….No matter how hard we try.”

So what does this rule mean?

It means you’re off the hook!

It means you don’t have to spend your whole life worrying about what others think about you anymore!

Take care of the third that matters most

If one-third of all the people you interact with don’t like you, that’s fine because you know there is another third somewhere that loves you for precisely who you are.

men s white button up dress shirt

As with developing strengths, spending time on our weaknesses (a.k.a. trying to get the people who don’t like us to like us) is far less effective than focusing on our strengths (a.k.a. focusing your attention on the people who love you).

This is why the one-third rule is so powerful.

It shows you that no matter how hard you try, you can’t change the minds of other people. Therefore, we should focus on fostering the relationships with the people who actually like us for us.

Simply put, the one-third rule helps you highlight the important people in your life as well as those people for whom you might have an opportunity to positively impact and thus create/improve that relationship.

Why we can’t “make” people like us

The idea that we can control someone else’s thoughts and emotions is simply ridiculous.

As my therapist says, not everyone is born with the same set of tools in their toolbox.

In other words, what’s right, wrong, good, or bad for you is not necessarily the same for the people we encounter throughout our lives.

We are all born with a different set of tools so we have to remember that the life we create with those tools is going to look significantly different from others.

So then, it makes sense that we should stop trying to fit our circle pegs into other peoples square holes. These kinds of ill-fitting relationships will never last because the fact is, it’s like trying to use a flathead screwdriver to drill in a philip’s screw-head—it just won’t work!


In the end, the one-third rule taught me how to prioritize the opinions others have about me. Mindfulness taught me that I cannot change people. The only person I can change is myself and in order to change myself, I need to question my mind and my thoughts.

Through my dad’s silly rule and a lot of mindfulness, I’ve realized I can’t change theperson holding a chalk in front of the chalk board one-third of people that don’t like me, but that’s okay! Knowing that not everyone will be my biggest fan gives me the ability to focus my attention on being my best self and love the people who love me for me!

Thank you as always for reading. Let us know what you think about the one-third rule. Does it hold true for you in life?

Do you have a different rule that helps center you and refocus your attention?

I’d love to hear them! Who knows, maybe something you share with us on our website will help change someone’s life forever!

See you next time!

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