The Three Tyrannies

I just wanted to create a post that pulls together Viv’s and my thinking about the Three Tyrannies. These are a sort of shorthand we use to explore what leads meetings towards stuckness and dissatisfaction.


The Tyranny of Effort kicks in when people cross the line between enthusiasm and obsession. It’s the experience of trying too hard – and the easiest way to bust out of it is to notice that it’s happening to us. More here.


The Tyranny of the Explicit is what happens when rules and procedures become counterproductive. By trying to get everything written down we think we’re creating more certainty and safety but risk losing the flexibility that makes us human. It’s like trying to hold sand in our hand by squeezing… squeeze too much and you lose more than you keep. More here and here.

The Tyranny of Excellence is where the perfect becomes the enemy of the good. Our efforts to guarantee success trip us into an orgy of criticism, of self and others. We need to be able to step back and see the reality beyond our judgements. More here.

1 thought on “The Three Tyrannies

  1. Rob Paterson

    I am just starting Kettlebell training – and all 3 of these tyrannies are in play.

    Trying too hard – thinking too much – being hard on myself for being such a klutz


    It’s hard to let go


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