Are You Living In Your Strengths?

One of the most invaluable discoveries you can ever find out about yourself is your strengths. If you’re truly able to answer “What are my strengths?”, you’re on your way to fulfilment and satisfaction in work and life.

Two years ago, I came across the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book which was also a ‘strengths’ assessment system. The key take away of the book is this: Your talents are enduring and unique, and your greatest potential for growth is in the area of your greatest strength.

Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned to think first of identifying our weaknesses. For example, parents usually point out the areas in the report card where their children need to improve. All self-improvement books focus on improving our weak spots.

 

Flexing my strengths

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Process vs Result

Here’s a thought and question to ponder, to feed your mind. Recently I saw a post on Facebook asking public opinions on which is more important for performance: Process or Result?

Naturally, a question like this will draw attention to vote for one or the other. When I paused and pondered on the question for a while, I thought that both process and result are very much inseparable. The question shouldn’t be which is more important, it should be which is more important to focus on? I also thought that result is the outcome of doing the right processes well. I joined the discussion and gave my two cents by commenting:

Results will take care of themselves when the right processes are done rightly. Here’s a Jim Rohn quote, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”

After giving it more thought I’m convinced that focusing on processes is THE KEY to peak performance. In this blog post, I’ll elaborate more by using an example from my peak performance experience.

process vs results

 

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How to Develop Magical Confidence – Secrets of a Magician (Maxim #5)

Finally, the last Maxim on ‘How to Develop Magical Confidence – Secrets of a Magician’. Hope it has been a useful series for my readers. Feed your mind with the final idea.

 

Maxim 5 – Be Prepared

There are always people in your life that you need to impress: your bosses, colleagues, clients, prospects, friends, family members, even strangers. The question is this: At what price would you pay to really make an impression on them? To what end would you go to make your “performances” work to win your audience?

The best magicians would go to whatever extreme end to win their audience over.  Advance preparation is the key. Sometimes the preparation takes place within the first couple of minutes of their tricks while they were casually chatting to their audience. The audience thinks they are just warming up, but in actual fact, the magicians are performing the most crucial parts of the show during that key couple of minutes. It’s called misdirection. Also, many times, preparation can take days, months or even years of careful planning. Magician Michael Webber said that you should be so far in advance ahead of the game that the audience doesn’t know that a game is being played!

In Maxim #4, I wrote about Practicing Your Outs, which is also a type of advance preparation. And there are more.

 

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How to Develop Magical Confidence – Secrets of a Magician (Maxim #4)

Two more maxims to go. Today, we’re already on Maxim #4. To read on my earlier posts on the series, here’s Maxim #1, Maxim #2 and Maxim #3.

 

Maxim Four: Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the lessons that all magicians learned early on is to make the difficult look simple. And the only way to do that is through lots of practice. Mastery is only a matter of practice away. And they have to put in the hours to reach the level of mastery to be confident in front of the crowd.

Done poorly, a magic trick can be seen across the room. Done well, it’s invisible even to the person nearest to the magician. To do that, his technique has to be so effortless that there’s no “tell”, no extra tension in the muscles of his hands. Truly invisible.

That’s what magicians do. They devote many years of their lives to practice so hard to perfect techniques that no one can see! They use the mirrors, they use video recordings, and they use real people to practice with. Until they develop the right habits in movement, that they can flow effortlessly during performances.

Nobody wants to watch a performer make something difficult looks difficult. The audience won’t have much confidence in the performer. They like to see perfection, they like to enjoy masterpieces, they expect you to be at your peak and at the top of your game. To wow them at every performance.

How does a top magician like Steve Cohen practice? In his book, he let his readers in on his secret practice routines. Here’s a summary:

 

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How to Develop Magical Confidence – Secrets of a Magician (Maxim #1)

There are few better people to learn how to develop confidence from than top-class stage performers, particularly magicians. Over the years, I’ve picked up many self-help books on how to self-confidence. Many of them remained unfinished, on my shelf. No wonder someone called them shelf-help!

However some books did provide real value, and a few were notably useful. I am embarking on a serial writings on developing confidence starting this week, especially on the ideas that worked for me.

One of those useful books that I truly learned from is Win the Crowd by Steve Cohen. As a professional magician, Steve had spent his life time collecting many secrets and psychological principles that make magic work. If you remove the illusions, sleight of hands and tricks, magicians are masters at attracting interest and creating awesome impressions on the audience. They’re masters of peak-levels of confidence.  At the center of his core principles, Steve had designed five guiding rules, what he called – The Maxims of Magic. Magicians follow them to convey confidence during their performances. He shared his maxims with the readers so that they can think the way magicians do, super-boost their confidence and get into peak-level performance state. I will share one maxim a day in my blog this week. Let’s begin.

 

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