If you're a mentalist, like me, you'd instantly recognize the number 793.8. I've often thought of getting it tattooed somewhere on my body it's that important.
What is it?
The Dewey Decimal number for the library's Magic & Mentalism section.
The mountains of North Carolina isn't well known for being a hotbed of magic, so the authors of the 5 or 6 books in the McDowell county library were my first mentors. Every day after school I'd spend 2 hours reading & re-reading every page of each magic book on the shelves.
If you've never read an instructional magic book, there's a peculiar thing you've probably never thought about.
How do magicians practice without a volunteer?
The answer in all the magic books from the 50's I grew up reading is to run through the routine while standing in front of a mirror. This gives you the best approximation of how a spectator would see your trick.
This helps you understand a volunteer's sight lines, how to hold your hand to make sure nobody sees the card hidden there, and so on.
There's a peculiar thing that happens, though. When you're practicing that secret move nobody is supposed to see, your brain "helps you out" by making sure you blink when you do it in the mirror.
It's the weirdest thing.
To you, the trick looks perfect. Every time you do the "move," there's absolutely nothing to see. . . to you. In the mirror, it seems flawless.
You think you have all the moves down perfectly, but you're completely unaware of your habit of blinking.
Until you try it out in real life, for a real person.
"I saw that."
You're more surprised it went wrong than they would be had it gone right.
"There's no way they could have seen the move!" you think. But there's no arguing they nailed you.
It's a complete mystery to you.
The problem is, you're completely unaware of your blinking habit. It's completely subconscious.
Much like using verbal fillers like "uhhh," "umm," "like," "ya know," etc. They fly right under the radar.
Flash Forward 70 Years
Nowadays everybody has a whole production studio in their pocket; HD video cameras in every phone.
They see everything.
Now, you can record your routine, and replay it exactly as you performed it.
The camera doesn't blink.
Now you can get an unbiased (and brutally honest) view of how you're actually performing. No illusions.
You need an outside view of your performance to identify your weak areas. Improving is almost impossible without it. Otherwise your tendency to blink will keep you blind to what's going wrong.
Blinking In Business
How many managers & CEOs have you seen who are driving their business into the ground, but they'd rate themselves as fantastic leaders?
It's the same mental hiccup that helps you protect the idea of who you are against the reality of who you are when they're in conflict.
You don't know what you don't know.
Few people are capable of honestly & accurately evaluating themselves.
Fewer still are willing.
Better Than Video
As good as having an unblinking eye is for improving, there's something that works even better: a real life mentor.
Having someone who is an expert at identifying where you're "blinking" in business & life, and who can show you what to do instead, will help you improve the absolute fastest way possible.
It's an unfortunate reality that those who would benefit the most from this kind of help are the least likely to seek it out.
If you, however, are interested in helping yourself get more out of life, let's talk.
I'd love to help you stop fooling yourself.