The #1 Lesson to Learn from Professional Magicians

watch-your-angles

Magicians “get it”.

I’m not just saying that because I used to be one. I really mean it.

There is a skill they have mastered that is lacking in almost every other industry.

Which skill? Sleight of hand? Misdirection? Telling corny jokes? Over-the-top dramatic gestures?

No, no, no, and definitely no.

Those skills have never served me in the “real world”. (I’m not even sure if “telling corny jokes” can be classified as a skill, but if it is, magicians have that market cornered.) The skill that HAS served me well is a skill I picked up by accident while studying the art of illusion.

The image above is from the instructions to a very famous magic trick (the one David Blaine used to make himself levitate on his 1997 breakout television special, Street Magic). It contains a key phrase that is beat into the head of every young magician. It’s the phrase, “watch your angles”. I’ve seen it in magic books and magic trick instruction manuals dozens, if not hundreds of times. But what could these words possibly mean for you, a “normal person”? Continue reading

How to Be Realistic AND Happy at Work

Ever notice how some people at work are negative all the time?

Just seeing them approach from a distance, makes you tired. Just hearing their voice makes a small part of you die on the inside. These pessimists are described as “Negative Nellys,” “Debbie Downers,” or even as “a cancer in the workplace”.

You know who they are…and if you don’t…it’s you!

We joke about these things because what else can you do? Nothing seems to get them out from under their black cloud of misery.

They don’t even think they’re pessimists. They call themselves “realists”.

While realism has its place in an effective work team, when it is perceived as pessimism, human connection suffers. This affects productivity, increases workplace stress, and has all kinds of direct impact on the bottom line. No wonder why that person is so often referred to as “a cancer”.

But is it possible to be realistic AND positive with everything going on in today’s world? Or does optimism require a certain level of ignorance as Lisa Simpson’s chart below suggests?

lisasimpsonhappinesschart

I believe optimism and realism can live in peace and harmony inside the same brain.

Enter Martin Seligman… Continue reading

The Biggest Myth of Happiness and Success

A lot of people think that if they could just be successful, THEN they’d be happy.

Before you judge them, haven’t you ever looked longingly at something just over the horizon? Haven’t you ever thought, “If only…” or “I can’t wait until…” or “If I can just get through this, THEN things will be good.”

Shawn Achor, a Harvard graduate and positive psychologist tackles the biggest myth about happiness and success in his 2010 book, The Happiness Advantage. Continue reading