About 5 years ago I went out for some drinks with a few clients. As it turned out, one of them happened to live in my neighborhood so we took the same train home.
Just as we were about to part ways I remembered that I had a magic trick in my pocket that I had intended to show everyone at the party so I took it out and showed it to my client. In a word – amazement.
It was then I realized that I wanted to take up magic again. I wanted to be able to make jaws drop so I went home and did a little research online.
eBay gave me access to hundreds of tricks and DVDs that weren’t readily available in Japan and soon I was hooked.
I studied 2 hours a day for an entire year and by the end of it I was getting pretty good.
While most of my time was spent learning sleights and misdirection I do clearly remember one famous story about an amateur approaching a famous magician that I have never forgotten.
The amateur said to the magician, “I can do over a thousand tricks, how many can you do?”
The magician turned to the young man and said, “That is impressive. I can do 8.”
When I first heard that I didn’t get it. 8? Why 8? But then I got it.
It’s not how many tricks you know but how well you can do them. It’s the old success principle – quality, not quantity.
Derren Brown, one of the best magicians in the world and my personal favorite, once did a trick with magic squares and the entire audience was spellbound and it got a standing ovation.
What’s more impressive is that it was done at a convention for magicians so most of them were amateurs or professionals themselves.
But the most amazing thing about it wasn’t the trick, or that he had fooled hundreds of fellow magicians. The amazing thing was that it was a trick that anyone with some skill can learn in 30 minutes or less.
It was his ability to perform it that made all the difference.
Success in nearly every endeavor is pretty much the same thing. There are thousands of qualified teachers, lawyers, programmers and businessmen. But what sets them apart is that sleight edge.
They have an ability to understand people at a different level and present things in a way that others understand.
- Bill Gates didn’t even create the program that helped launch Microsoft – he bought it. He saw its potential when others didn’t and he knew how to sell it to others.
- Mark Zuckerburg started a little site known as Facebook that is now the #1 visited site in America, despite Friendster, MySpace and Google all having a head-start in the social media field.
- Sony dominated the marketplace with the Walkman only to lose out to Steve Jobs and Apple with it’s iPod. The key was in understanding that people wanted access to digital music quickly and easily.
The most successful people in life aren’t necessarily the smartest, but they can present it better than anyone else.
Magic taught me the same thing; you don’t have to know the most tricks, or be the most accomplished magician to create the most amazing tricks.
The key is in the presentation.