Life Lessons

The Magician’s Illusion

I lived in US for many years and had a chance to watch the show of David Copperfield (one of the world’s top magician) and recently two performances of Ugesh Sarkar (one of India’s top magician). We know that what we see in the magician’s performance is an illusion and not reality but it looks real to us. For few moments we cannot believe what we see and what we believe is not seen. I was thinking if we can flip this magician’s illusion to our competence and confidence in life meaning we may be living in the illusion that we cannot do certain things but in reality we may be able to do anything that we may want. This may sound little philosophical but when I look at all those people who have flipped the magician’s illusion in their lives; there are some common aspects which I would like to share.
Deep Practice – I could not speak to David Copperfield but got a chance to speak to Ugesh Sarkar. What he said and what I read in few interviews of David Copperfield is that they do many months of practice for the few hours they come on the stage. Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outlier” has talked about Deep Practice where he says that one can achieve anything if he or she puts in 10000 hours of practice and Daniel Coyle in his book “Talent Code” builds further on this that there is a part in our brain called Myelin that strengthens if we do deep practice. So if you always wanted to become the chief architect of a particular platform or a pricing expert or a leader in a particular domain you need to put a plan of deep practice. You can see that this deep practice can flip the illusion that you cannot become the chief architect or that expert. You can even look at some of your hobbies like playing a musical instrument or learning to write code and apply the deep practice to achieve whatever you always had desired.
Meaning before Money – While money is for sure very important in our lives but most people who have been able to achieve great heights (make money) by flipping the illusion have always looked for meaning before money. In almost every speech of Guy Kawasaki who worked very closely with Steve Jobs he brings this point very strongly. It took 5 years for Steve Jobs to launch iPod (meaning) before Apple made billions (money). Meaning can inspire deep practice and not money. So as a manager if my meaning is to take care of my team irrespective of what salary hike I get I will continue to stay motivated (meaning) and eventually the organization will give the required hike (money) or as a service provider if my meaning is to provide world class services irrespective of my organizational or market constraints the customer will give new contracts (money). This meaning before money is important for deep practice as deep practice needs lot of energy and energy comes with meaning and not money.
Passion and Fun (PF) – There are times when our Passion goes down or we loose sight of our Purpose and that may lead to reduced or no Fun in the things we do. It is natural and human to all of us but we need to keep a watch and bring back the PF as soon as we see it going down. We need to put a rhythm of reminder that will help us create PF even before it goes down. One suggestion I have is to look at the PF in our salary slip every month as a reminder. For my global readers PF is a component in the Indian salary structure. The employer puts in equal amount in a secured account which most employees use it post-retirement. Usually this is not a big percentage of salary so most people don’t pay attention to the PF column. However you can now look at PF column in salary slip every month to check whether you are having enough of other PF (Passion and Fun). So if you are a facilitator you can check whether you are bringing in enough Passion in delivering the sessions. If you are a support function you can check whether you are bringing in enough Passion in understanding the needs of the internal customers and providing solutions that helps achieve the Purpose of the organization and finally are you having Fun in whatever you do.
I know many of you must have put resolutions for 2015 and I can guarantee you that if you can bring the Deep Practice, Meaning Before Money and look for the new PF every month you can achieve much more than the resolutions. You can flip the magician’s illusion and achieve anything that you want. If you like please share with me your resolutions and plan of Deep Practice with PF and any support you need from my side to achieve them.

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