Last week during, the flight back from speaking in Paris after my computer battery ran out, I picked up the American Airlines flight magazine. I felt particularly drawn to an article called Master Mind. It was an intriguing article about the famous mentalist George Kresge — better known as The Amazing Kreskin. You may have seen him years ago on Johnny Carson or numerous other TV programs.
It’s amazing that — at 77 years old — he’s still performing live and astounding audiences! One particular story from his youth caught my eye… It seems that when he was 9 years old, growing up in Montclair, NJ, George’s teacher suggested a game “hot and cold.” They hid a bean bag somewhere the classroom and a fellow classmate tried to find it. The class gave directives of “hot” and “cold.”
He was disappointed that he hadn’t been chosen to be the one to look for the bean bag. So, after school he told his brother to hide a penny in his grandmother’s house and he would try to find it. He found it in one of the bedrooms. The surprising part… his brother didn’t give him any directives!
Cute story. Do you find it memorable? I believe it’s very “sticky.” It’s only two paragraphs. I found it to be powerful in its simplicity. The story also made me think. Did I have any stories or experiences from my youth that may have been an indicator of what I would do for a living?
How about you? It may be worth taking time to explore that. This story gives me three ideas:
#1) The power of the story
I’d be willing to bet that he’s been using that story as a staple in many of his PR stories and interviews. Quite possibly, it’s part of the introduction for his shows. I don’t know about you, but I can visualize his story. Can you? It’s simple, specific, image-filled and relatable. The twist at the end also sets his performance up perfectly. I believe it also gets us to start believing he’s amazing and “special.” It helps hypnotize his audience into “buying in.” Do you have a simple story that helps sell you — a story that makes you more interesting and gets people wanting to know more?
#2) Your current success pattern, signs from your childhood
When I look back on my childhood, may ideas come to mind. I realized that even when I used to play childhood games, I was very particular about “how” my cousins and I played them. Yes, I was a bit of a control freak. I’m not sure if that was an indicator or just training. I do know I’m the same way with projects today. That personality trait is what keeps me on top of all aspects of the project and it helps get it done. It’s taken two years to develop the Create Your Keynote by Next Week home study course. I know many people who start projects and never finish them. How about you?
3) Passion from your childhood?
If you are living your passion, perfect. If not, consider this… If you’ve read Outliers or heard the concept of 10,000 hours, you know the idea that experts in any field usually have 10,000 hours of experience in their field. I believe part of that 10,000 hours comes because you’re involved in your passion.
Looking back at your childhood, where did your passion lie as a child? What did you gravitate towards? You might ask your own family and be surprised at their answer. Ask yourself, “How does this apply to my success pattern today?”
Maybe it doesn’t apply and perhaps you gave into people telling you that it was not for you. In my youth I remember distinctly that I loved movies. I loved laughter. I saw the power of them taking people away to another place for 90 minutes and allowing people to be “lost” from their problems of life, even if just for a little while. I can see how that led me to wanting to be a camera operator, then an actor. Now, it’s a part of what I do. Just doing comedy wasn’t enough for me — now, I want to inspire people to be more and do more.
The Amazing Kreskin has a story. I’m willing to bet that story opened many doors for him and made it simple for people to pass along his message.
Do you have your story? Do you see the power of making it amazing by making it simple and memorable? If you’re not already, become a student of storytelling. Hire a pro to help you. It will serve you. Consider your own success patterns and passion. It could be the key to creating the amazing… YOU!
Join us at the Storytelling Champ Camp!
Credit: October 15th, 2012, American Way P. 65 Article: Master Mindby Kathleen Parrish