By Brad “Scarnecky” Gordon
As magicians, and magical enthusiasts we have a unique advantage over others. Inside of many social situations or circumstances we are regarded by our peers as being able to do things that are quite special (magical). Having said that I am reminded of a time some ten years ago, that really stands out in my personal memory.
I found myself living and working in the Southern California area (Orange County to be precise), and my job at the time was located in Irvine. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend there and the people were quite amazing. Intellectually and socially some of the best people I’ve ever had the chance to meet and know where there in Irvine.
So of course I would often show magic tricks to my fellow employees, and what eventually happened was that a few of my co-workers would continually say things like: “Hey even the way you remove your wallet and take money out to pay for lunch is magical”.
This was the first time I had ever heard anything like that . I, of course, asked what they meant. Their explanation would be one of the strongest seeds planted in my personal psyche which has grown powerful roots inside of my life.
They explained to me that because of all the magic I had shown them, they were always on the look-out because at any given moment I might do something strange or pull out a deck of cards etc. Combined with their observations for how I would handle small objects (I think you all know what I am referring to).
Holding objects in such ways as to maximize its uniqueness or handling items in such a way as to make them visible to spectators at various angles. From that moment on I had become more aware of not just the tricks I perform but also the assumptions which people see or even expect.
It took me several years to really understand the importance of this memory/observation, and I began to make efforts to take advantage of the knowledge. I started to take note of what words and/or phrases would create magical feelings (either inside of me or as feedback from others), and I began to treat these things exactly as I would treat a magic trick.
If you have ever even performed one magic trick for friends, family, coworkers, etc, everything you say and do will have a little bit different feel and appeal to them.
For instance if a small group of people are aware of the fact that you do magic, and one day you decided to borrow a lighter, you proceed to light it and hold it in the air, it is safe to assume that those same people would wonder what kind of magic you will do with the lighter.
However, if you were not a magician this action would be considered sort of funny and humorous at best.
Allow me to share examples of what I have seen magicians do who are aware of this. The following examples assume that the individuals who are involved have prior knowledge of the fact that you are a magician.
- When performing sleight of hand, I’ve seen magicians purposefully show there hands empty not to over-prove anything but to simply toy with the audience.
- When a magician is sitting at a table playing with a deck of cards (fancy cuts and shuffles)- s/he is sort of begging for someone to ask him/her to do a trick.
- Asking to borrow small objects from people who know you do magic will create wonder as to what you might do.
- Sometimes when I offer a piece of gum to my friends they are hesitant because they are naturally suspicious/ wondering if something might happen with the gum.
- Expressing little magical gestures with your hands will create instant wonder within those around you.
- Touching a persons clothing or asking them to hold their hands or arms in specific positions will cause wonder as well.
These are just a few examples of the mixture of magic and assumption. Now let me address some things that I do or have done that are magical without the element of “it” being a trick, yet often having the same or similar impact.
A few years ago, I had been doing some extensive reading on the conscious mind (reactive mind), and I often came across the fact that the conscious part of our brain often acts as a wall. If a random stranger walked up to you and said- “Hey you are a smart guy,” your conscious mind would sort of wonder what is going on (raising an eyebrow).
The conscious mind’s relationship with the ego might cause you to think “Huh, that’s cool but who does he think he is? He doesn’t even know me.” Defenses go straight up, and more often than not these types of statements will distance us from others.
I really wanted to figure out a way to tell people (especially women) how beautiful or neat they are or how good someone is at what s/he does. So instead of causing a persons protective/reactive mind to raise with a statement as in the above, why not create a moment of wonder and magic? At the very same time bypassing that “wall” making a real/ genuine impact on someone.
Here is what I came up with. In this example I will be speaking to a specific magician I admire.
“Dan, I can’t TELL you how awesome you are, I CAN’T tell you that, I can ONLY REMIND you of that which you already know. Do you remember? Perfect.”
You can see how effective this is as a tool for achieving my mentioned objective. I suggest trying this out for yourself to see what kind of reactions it elicits.
At first you will feel sort of robotic as this is a script, but it is NO different (in my opinion) than the scripting we use when performing. The more you use and practice this statement the more natural it will continue to feel.
You will also find that it is very disarming and even if at first this feels strange to the person you are speaking to there will be NO wall raised and will simply feel like a nice reminder for them to carry with them throughout the day.
The whole point that I am getting at with this little article is this: “We” as magicians do NOT always have to be doing tricks to be magical or to make a difference. We can apply all of the skills we have been working on for our personal effects and presentations to other areas of communication and wonder.
The second example of something which can have a HUGE impact on another person is what I like to call Just Now.
Just now is a concept that I discovered a few years back. There is a little story which comes along with my discovery:
A few years ago I got pulled into the world of texting quite strongly, and I had many friends who also were texting frequently. The thing that struck me the strongest was how immediate the communication was. Our phones are often continuously being held in our hands these days, so the messaging arrives instantaneously.
When my friends would text me something to the effect of “Hey how are you doing, how are things going,” If felt strange to me because I knew that person just created that text and sent it to me just now. “RIGHT NOW” is what I thought, and I wondered what it would feel like if someone happened to send me a text which read- How are you feeling right now at this very moment? ”
As you can see by reading this phrase as if someone sent a text to YOU right now- it feels more important. It makes you sort of ground yourself and pull your brain out of the normal drudgery of the day. As this is no surprise I get the most positive responses and usually elicit wonderful feelings in others when I do this.
By adding anything you wish into the blank space this phrase can be practically anything you wish. “how amazing”, “how gifted”, “how talented”, “what an amazing soccer player”, “how beautiful”, “special”, “unique”
“Shelley, I can’t tell you how _______________ you are, I CAN’T tell you that, I can ONLY REMIND you of that which you already know. Do you remember? Perfect.”
“How are you feeling right now at this very moment?”
Obviously with the above phrase simply substitute “feeling” with “doing“, depending on the circumstances.
I hope that I have provided you with a few communication tools to not only add to your magical life but also your personal life. More importantly it is my continued goal to provide a perspective for others to peer from. Instead of saying “think outside the box” I more wish to say “hey there are an infinite number of boxes available to assist with our creative progress, it’s just a matter of finding and sharing them.”
Until next time
With Great Thanks
Brad “Scarnecky” Gordon
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