The £3 bet

What is the £3 bet? Well it is just a bit of fun really. It is also an interesting psychological tool to help you make yourself or others consider the point you are making in a little more depth.

I first came across it last christmas when my brother challenged me to bet 3 quid on whether what I was saying was true or not. I can’t even remember what we were talking about probably which jazz artist wrote what track or maybe who did what last christmas. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it stopped me, just for a moment, and made me consider.

“Was I sure? Was I really sure enough that I was willing to bet £3?”
– me, christmas 2016

The amount is interesting. £3 is less than the cost of a pint so it won’t break the bank, but it is just enough to make you think, “am I sure?”. £1 is probably not enough to consider and £5 might be too much, but £3 seems just right.

I suspect the amount is not that important really, it is more about the challenge and making the point into a ‘thing’. Agreeing to bet £3 actually means my integrity and maybe even my reputation is now on the line. It changes the focus from a flippant comment into something just a little more serious and at the same time fun.

And when it comes to a work situation it really helps to keep things light. I sometimes use this tactic at work, say if one of the team becomes adamant that a UI element should look just so, or that a software module has to be done in a particular way then, I look them in the eye and ask £3 bet?. They know me well enough now to understand that really this means, just take a little step back, let’s just consider the flip-side, don’t be so serious.

The first few times I used it were interesting. The reaction was either “£3, I’d bet you £100!” or laughter and  a muttered “well maybe if… ” before trailing off! And so it is all depends on the individual of course, but no matter what the reaction, the point is this is a cool little life-hack that can light heartedly help to pivot the situation and offers a way to consider a point again.