Common Notes
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Common Notes

Photo Cred: Thomas Kelley @ Unsplash

The real magic

Is the work to prepare.

“The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” — Bobby Knight

If you haven’t watched the new David Blaine special, I encourage you to find it on Netflix or online and give it a go. Warning: some graphic content.

But with all great magicians, they are capable of bending our minds with misdirection and slight of hand. After watching a magic trick, we want to rewind and watch it again to find where the real magic happened.

The secret, the prestige (to quote the brilliant film by Christopher Nolan) as all great magicians know, exists in all of the work leading up to the trick.

Most magic tricks are anything but. Most magic tricks are hundreds of thousands of hours of practice, preparation and hard work, sprinkled with a dash of performance art in the moment.

How did my card end up there? How did they escape that chamber? How did they make that disappear?

It started with a small child committing to a life of quiet, solo preparation; of sitting in front of a mirror practicing the same movements millions of times until they could be done flawless, fast and effortless. It starts with the professional who wakes up at 4am every morning to force her body into a hyperventilated state to build up the lung capacity necessary for an underwater escape. It starts with the commitment to being a professional, dedicating every aspect of your life to your craft.

The magic is in the hard work that happens before, the willingness to do the work that others won’t do, and the commitment to show up every day.

The engineer who designs a lighter, safer, more beautiful bridge? It starts with a creative child and some Lego blocks and endless hours lost in imagination. That’s the real magic.

The programmer who creates a brilliant piece of software? It starts with a curiosity on how electronics work and how numbers can be used for more than just counting. That’s the real magic.

The entrepreneur who builds a meaningful business for her clients? It starts with understanding the needs of the customer and the empathy to be in their shoes when no one else will listen. That’s the real magic.

The magician is a master of preparation and a performance artist. They are a professional to their craft, and commit to the hard work that is worth doing, often for years, for a single moment of true magical delight.

What if the work you were doing was the preparation for an amazing moment of pure bliss and ethereal magic years into the future?

What if the real magicians were us?

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