Back in the day, I travelled non-stop.
One year, I had the highest frequent flier card you can get. So obscure I didn't even know what it was when it arrived.
Hustling through an airport one day, I saw something I’ve never seen before or since.
A college-aged young man, dressed in black standing off to the side of a very busy concourse.
He was making a pencil float and moving it up and down through the air. Literally.
It danced in the air about 3 inches from his hand. It was mesmerizing.
This was right out of Harry Potter, which hadn't been written yet.
He was young, yet he'd mastered it.
And I was not the only one captivated. A small crowd was gathered. In a busy airport, no less.
I began picturing myself shocking and enchanting my colleagues with my magic pencil trick.
This amateur magician was standing next to one of those faux carts where they usually sell phone cases or sunglasses.
The Magic Floating Pencil was displayed all over the cart in a DVD-sized box.
He had me.
But I didn’t buy one.
I bought two! One for me and one a friend who I knew had the mind for magic tricks.
A middle-aged man in a suit standing next to me bought two also. I know that kid made a fortune selling them.
See, I HAD. TO. KNOW.
Yet as soon as soon as I got the trick, could see it wasn’t “magic” but hard work of the kind that didn’t interest me, it was disappointing.
If you've ever bought a magic trick because you "had to know," you know the feeling.
After opening the box and seeing the "reveal" behind the trick, I realized that guy must really love magic to pull off that trick so convincingly.
He had to have practiced for hours.
I knew in seconds I was unwilling to do it and gave the boxes to my friend, who immediately set up the trick and started practicing in my living room.
If taking the simple contents of that box and learning to execute that trick would have gotten me the raise and promotion I was angling for, I'd have spent the entire weekend learning and practicing that trick to deliver it better than anyone in history.
But you can’t buy the secret to career success from an airport stall.
And it's not the magic ingredients you’re raised on: hard work and an a degree.
Lots of people who hate their jobs and are not only miserable but deeply in debt have both of those.
Those are the pencil.
You need them, but they aren’t the the magic trick.
In your profession or industry, who's doing magic?
Who's offering the "reveal" behind the magic?
What would have to be in the box for you to master it so well, that you possessed the power of magic?