don’t knock it till you’ve tried it

Wherever I go I nearly always have a deck of playing cards with me. Why? Because a few years ago I spent 2 hours each night practicing magic. The hard work paid off and I became quite good.

But one thing did surprise me – it wasn’t the elaborate tricks that amazed most people but some of the easiest.

Like anything, when people first start out tricks are relatively simple. Some can be taught in as little as 2 minutes. And despite their simplicity some of them are classics that I never get tired of using.

They’re quick and easy.

However, we realize that these aren’t anything special so we move on to more challenging stuff. Misdirection, card manipulation and all sorts of elaborate tricks.

As we get better we like to find tricks that we ourselves can’t figure out.

The more amazing it is the better the reaction will be from our audience.

But magicians forget one thing – they see the world through their eyes, not that of their audience. Since most people don’t know how a trick is done their response to an easy trick and that of a more challenging one isn’t that different.

Some of the tricks by the biggest names in the business such as David Copperfield and Lance Burton’s aren’t really that amazing. In fact, some are downright disappointing if you knew how they were done.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we must always keep our audience in mind whether you’re performing a magic trick, giving a sales presentation or trying to convince your wife that you need a new computer.

Too often people see things from their perspective and not the other side of the table.

To be an effective speaker, a good salesman, an amazing magician or a great leader we must always keep our eyes and ears open.

Often times our own customers, clients or audience will let you know what they want.

While some customers and clients can be direct about what they want, many will hint subtlety at what they want through questions and stories.

Magicians and speakers merely need to listen to the reaction of the audience to gauge their effectiveness. The key is to be able to evoke the emotion out of the audience you so desire.

A few weeks back, I was able to see the show Penn & Teller Fool Us which was broadcast in England and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In the show professional magicians must match their wits against two of the best in the business.

If Penn and Teller can’t figure out how the magician performed their trick then they are rewarded by being taken to Las Vegas, where they will perform the opening act in Penn & Teller’s world famous show at the Rio Hotel.

Amazingly the first tricks that really stumped Penn & Teller was done with 5 envelopes. And they summed it up best when they said, “This trick is so simple it shouldn’t stump us.”

How does this relate to success? I believe the title says it all – “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”

Too often we believe that something won’t work without actually giving it its fair shake.

Most of the time we don’t even bother trying it simply because we believe it would never work.

In the self-development books, audio lectures and DVD study materials I have there is quite a lot of stuff that makes you go – REALLY?! NO WAY…THAT’LL NEVER WORK.

But here’s the amazing thing, they do.

Just like the easy magic tricks get as much applause as a trick that took you months to perfect.

The key is in the results not the action. So what if it’s simple, if it gets the job done, go with that. Why bother complicate things? And yet, year after year, client after client I am constantly baffled by our own ability to short-circuit our own success.

In learning anything suspending disbelief is one, the fastest ways to improve.

Try it earnestly and see what results you get. You may surprise yourself.

I’ve found that the best tricks should be saved for just the right occasion. That way you have some aces up your sleeve when you need to simply amaze someone.

So never underestimate the simple concepts of sales, management, time, relationships, magic and of course success.

You’ll be surprised that most of the time the simple stuff is all we need.

I’ve found that success really is as hard as we make it.

Adrian Shepherd

ps. In case you were wondering what made me stop learning magic after investing close to 1000 hours of study and somewhere in the range of a few thousand dollars…I asked myself one important question: Was it what I wanted? The answer I got back was no. But my studies made me think, “If I can master magic, maybe I can master investing and success?” And the rest, as they say, is history.

pps. Next time we meet if you want to be amazed…just say the word…

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