Our writer this month is our friend and faculty member at the Magic & Mystery School, the corporate alchemist, George Parker. If you’ve been watching Mystery School Mondays, you know we’re in for a treat. Here’s George:
By this time, we’re all familiar with the 10,000 hours concept that was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. Gladwell is great at making interesting ideas and concepts accessible.
But he wasn’t the first one to focus on excellence and expertise. K. Anders Ericsson published his Toward a General Theory of Expertise in 1992 and came to similar conclusions. He looked at experts in different fields like medicine, performance arts, music, sports, etc. and suggested that having a talent is great and a genetic predisposition for something may be very helpful, but a lot of training and aiming to be excellent is key to become an expert.
And way, way before him, Aristotle wrote that “we are what we repeatedly do.”
I know salespeople who should be excellent communicators/listeners but they spend 80% of their time in a car. They are probably excellent drivers, but I doubt their ability to really connect with their clients.
I think we all struggle with this from time to time. We desire excellence but there are a thousand other things that distract us from practicing it. Sometimes that’s because we don’t love what we’re doing or we lack the will to be excellent. But most of the time there’s another reason: we don’t have the time.
In order to help you create time, I’m including a list of things you may want to stop doing this year.
- Stop acting like a rat. For rats there’s nothing between stimulus and response. So they will instantly answer an email when they hear the sound of their inbox. They will answer a call when their phone rings. They don’t have any planning skills at all.
- Stop mindless traditions. I’ve been to lots of family parties, weddings, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, etc. in the past. A lot of the time I was asking myself: what am I doing here? I wouldn’t hang out with these people when I met them in a bar. So why am I now? Think about it: where do you really want to be? Or where do you really need to be in order not to be rude?
- Stop reading annoying and/or trivial things. Are you really, wholeheartedly interested in how Tyra Banks washes her clothes or how George Clooney’s housekeeper likes him so much? Allow 15 minutes (or less) a day to read this kind of stuff.
- Stop doing work that’s not worth doing. Some procedures, meetings and other habits don’t help to achieve your goals. Do them differently (like Skyping instead of doing a live meeting) or stop doing them altogether.
- Stop sweating the small stuff. When something is bothering you, don’t act on it, write it down, wait 48 hours and see if still bothers you. I bet 75% of those things will have lost their urgency.
My guess is that you will create at least 400 free hours this year, but probably more. That’s a great step towards your 10,000 hours!
Thanks, George! One of the best ways you can fill in those hours you gain back using George’s methods is certainly to fill them with practice and rehearsal. But another is to use them to come to a Master Class. We have our first extended class of the year running from March 11-17, and it is not too late to make plans to attend. There are a few slots still available, and March is a fantastic time to visit Vegas. It’s already warm, but not the super-hot that comes with summer. We’ll be seeing some great shows, and you’ll get lots of one on one attention from the full faculty. There’s no other experience in magic that comes close – so treat yourself to the one experience guaranteed to help you raise the level of your magic right now! Go to www.magicalwisdom.com and sign up for either the March class, or one of the classes later in the year.
Jeff McBride will be in South America in February, first at the Mundial de Magia, in Bogota, Colombia from February 2-12, and then at CADI – Congreso Argentino de Ilusionismo, in Buenos Aires, Argentina from February 15-19.
Just to follow up a bit of what George was writing about: I’ve traveled on many long trips with Jeff, and I can tell you he puts his airline time to good use. He always has a deck of cards and several tricks he is working on, and it is not unusual at all to see him practicing his sleight of hand skills while waiting to check in or at his seat. And if he isn’t practicing, he’s likely to be reading a book on magic.
So…thanks, George, for the excellent advice for all of us. We hope to see all of you soon – either on Mystery School Mondays (Live at 7pm PST every Monday at www.mcbridemagic.tv, or available in archived form for a full week after each web-cast in the same location), at one of our upcoming “Locked Room” sessions, or live in Las Vegas!
Best wishes for a magical February!