What if I could change into…?

Transformation is the ultimate magic trick. Transform yourself, transform your environment.

One of your 5 (minutes) a day?

The Type that Writes

A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to become the sort of person who writes books. However, the whole idea of writing a book seemed completely daunting. I needed a transformation.

My typing was an obstacle – slightly better than two fingers, but I had to look at the keyboard and I was slow. Learn to touch-type was the first step. I found an online course that allowed self-paced learning with as little as five minutes per day. Great, that was achievable – who can’t find five minutes each day?

Hey presto, a year later I could type using all my fingers and without having to look at the keyboard. As a bonus, I have saved more than five minutes per day because I can now answer emails more quickly. And my typing speed continues to increase as I use it.

Once my touch-typing was sorted, I realised that I would never really get anything written unless I established a writing habit. So, phase two, the next stage in the journey, the next mini-goal. I committed to going to the library at the start of each day and writing for an hour. So far it is going well!

Writing a book once seemed like an impossible dream. But now with touch-typing and a writing habit, it no longer seems impossible.

Disappearing Clutter

The same principle transformed our garage. We don’t keep a car in our garage, rather it is a store room for magic props, along with tool kits, camping stuff and kayaking gear.

Six months ago it was a complete mess. There were corners that hadn’t been touched for ages and boxes that hadn’t been opened since we moved in several years ago. But, I thought, this has to be done. The commitment was ten minutes per day after the morning dog-walk and – ta da! – six months later we now have a beautifully organised and de-cluttered garage. It has been transformed!

Having seen the benefit of this little-and-often philosophy, I have now applied it to other areas of life. Exercise, organising the office, reading books, developing marketing materials, even developing relationships. 

Visualise your goal, break it down into bite-size chunks and then establish a habit and routine that allows you to achieve it in a manageable and enjoyable way. 

And watch yourself perform the ultimate magic trick!

You can do the impossible

One bite at a time…

As a magician I must practise, practise, practise before presenting my seemingly impossible effects to the waiting world. The method becomes invisible as I develop muscle memory to perform secret moves without apparent thought or effort.

When I start performing to lay people the practice continues. In fact, many argue that this is when the learning really begins; only when I perform can I see how a trick will be received, how certain lines of patter will or will not land and how the rhythmic timing of a trick works best.

But how to practise? I have never been a big fan of extended practice sessions. I much prefer the “little and often” approach. I have packs of cards all over the house, in my car and in every jacket and bag that I take out with me. In a spare couple of minutes I can whip out a pack and work on my new moves. Muscle memory builds up much better this way: short, intensive training, have a break and then come back to it later. I have heard dancers say the same sort of thing.

This “little and often” principle can be extended to many areas of life with great effectiveness.

Doing the Impossible

How often do you get demoralised about a goal because it looks too large, too daunting, plainly unachievable? You say to yourself, “I could never complete that task, it would take too much time and energy,” or look at someone successful and think, “I could never achieve what that person has achieved.”

Well, try breaking it up into little steps. When asked, “How do you eat an elephant?” the answer is, “One bite at a time!”

First of all, picture yourself having achieved the goal or completed the project. How does it feel? Great, I bet. Ask yourself whether there is any real reason that you shouldn’t get there. What is the real difference between you and someone who has already achieved it? Probably just determination, consistency and possibly a bit of learning. When I see another magician do an amazing shuffle or flourish with cards I am tempted to think, “I could never do that!” However, I know – because I have forced myself – that given enough “little-and-often” practice I can actually do it. Now people look at me and say, “I could never do that!”

Get your goal in mind. Then identify what has to change and what you need to do to get there. Break it down into sub-goals along the way. And then break the sub-goals down further and further until you have a practical step that you could easily take today.

Then you will achieve the impossible. Just like a magician learning a trick.