Full Text of How to Magically Connect with Anyone by Brian Miller at TEDxManchesterHighSchool
Brian Miller – Corporate & College Magician & Speaker
Well, thank you.
Our world is a shared experience, fractured by individual perspectives, yours and mine. Imagine if we could all understand each other.
When I first started my career in magic, I was doing a lot of performing in restaurants, table to table card tricks, coin tricks, sleight of hand and whoop! You got a good seat for this.
This one night, I was on fire. I remember I was fast and funny, my moves were perfect, I was unstoppable. And I sauntered up to this one table, an elderly man and his wife, and I said, “Folks, would you like to see some magic?”
And the man looked at me, and he said, “Sir, I would love to see some magic, but I can’t. Unfortunately, I am blind.”
I looked at him, really looked at him for the first time, and it was so clear he was blind. His eyes were glazy, he wasn’t really looking at me. Anybody would’ve known that, but I was so wrapped up in my evening, so lost in my world, I wasn’t looking at him. I just saw two generic people and launched into my show. And I stood there, embarrassed, and that word was ringing in my ears, “blind, blind, blind”, and I had no choice, and I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I don’t have anything I can do for you, but if you come back again sometime, I promise I will have some sort of magic that I can share with you.”
He said, “I’ll hold you to that!”, and I went on with my night.
A few weeks later, they came back in. I recognized them immediately, and I panicked. I had completely forgotten about it. I raced back to the room where I kept my props, I was thinking about every trick I’d ever learned and every book I’d ever read, something, anything I could do for this man, and then I remembered reading an obscure idea somewhere I read a long time ago in an old manuscript, it was all I had.
So I composed myself, I walked back out, and said, “Hey folks, my name is Brian, would you like to see some magic?”
And he cut me off, he goes, “All right, we are back, what have you got for me?” with a big smile on his face.
So I asked his wife, “May I sit next to you?” and she said, “Sure.”
So I sat down, and I said “Ed,” – his name was Ed – I said, “Ed, do you trust your wife?” and he said, “Sometimes.”
I said, “Will you trust her now?” and he said, “Sure.”
So I took out a pack of plain cards, gave them to her, and said, “Mix the cards, make sure there’s no special markings on them,” and she said, “No, they’re fine.”
I took Ed’s hand and I said, “I’ll place a card in your hand, do you think this is a red card or a black card?”
Then he said red, and he was right. The next card, he said red, and he was right again. I put down the next one, and he said, “Hmm, black!” Again correct. His wife is getting skeptical at this point. And we keep going, red, red, black, black, red, and he’s getting all of them right. Red, black, red, faster, black, black, black, red, through the whole deck, black, black, red, every single one of them right, and at the end, Ed is laughing, he’s howling, the whole restaurant is staring at us, and I turn and his wife – his wife is weeping tears of joy. It was the most beautiful magic I had ever experienced.
A little bit later, I am going to tell you how we did it. But the real secret of the trick, the real secret of magic, is understanding and taking on different perspectives, different points of views.
So let’s try and experiment with perspective, would you like to see some magic? All right, let’s try a little experiment here. This is one of oldest illusions in magic, here we go. Check that out for me; yes please, here you go. That’s rope right there, you can check that out. And I’ve got some more over here, here you go, one for you yes, and one for you. Make sure that’s what it seems to be; is it what it seems to be? Are you what you seem to be? I don’t know what that means. That’s good, I’ll take that back, you look as confused as I do.