So right now I want you to focus on just one card and remember it. Keep repeating the name of your card over and over and over in your mind. You got it? Great, I’m going to turn the cards over, start mixing them up.
Now if I did this correctly, all of you, yes all of you will have been influenced to choose the exact same card. And I’m going to remove your card right now. Let’s see if it worked. So it’s pretty crazy right?
So okay, so how does this happen? Like I said there is a psychological reason why these cards were selected but it is not so that all of you would be drawn to the same card. It’s so that all of you would focus on only one card and ignore the rest. And that’s where the misconception comes in because what you don’t know is that there are actually two separate sets of cards.
Again the answer was hiding in plain sight. And the reason you didn’t notice is because both sets of cards are actually very similar. So let’s say for instance in the first spread you selected the king of clubs. In the second spread it was replaced by the king of spades.
So no matter what card you chose in the first spread is not going to show up in the second spread. And to top it all off you were so focused on your one card. You didn’t even notice any of the other cards around it. This is why misconception is so dangerous and it often makes problem-solving take way longer than it really should.
All right now the next idea we’re going to tackle is assumptions, and more importantly false assumptions. So why don’t you take a look at this animation right now. And tell me which way is the key rotating?
Now some of you will assume the key is rotating clockwise. Others will assume the key is rotating counterclockwise. And both of those assumptions are wrong.
You see we assumed the key is moving in just one direction or the other. But I can assure you it’s not. Now if you’re more of a right brain user you would likely see the key rotating to the right. If you’re more of a left brain user, you’ll likely see the key rotating to the left.
But by switching your thinking from right brain to left brain you’ll be able to shift the direction of the key. Now this takes a little bit of practice but the results are almost magical.
So how does this relate to hiding in plain sight?
Well in this situation our brain thinks and assumes that there’s only one of two possible answers. The only two it readily knows and accepts. The key can rotate right or the key can rotate left. It’s inconceivable of why the key can be rotating in both directions at the same time.
But you see if we really study the image, we realize we don’t have enough information to determine the key’s direction at all. You see the key is solid black. There are no highlights, shadows, or any other distinguishing marks to give us the appropriate information.
Now our brain fills in these missing pieces and we assume, because our mind likes to work in an orderly fashion that what we see is the key rotating in one direction or the other. It doesn’t even occur to us that maybe we’re missing the relevant information to make an informed decision.
And we assume that what our mind tells us based on the way that it chooses to function at that moment that our logic is correct.
So the correct answer to this one is simply hiding in plain sight depending on your perception the key rotates in both directions.
Now there’s still one more crucial word we need to explore. And that is expectations. The answer we expect to find can blind us to what is actually happening. And this is what makes problem-solving so difficult.
Now a great example of this is when I was asked to be on the TV show America’s Got Talent. There was just one problem. At that time the producers of the show expected magicians to perform big flashy Vegas type illusions which I didn’t do.
Now the reason that America’s Got Talent wanted these types of acts was because the show was being taped in front of 6,000 people at Radio City Music Hall. And they wanted this show to feel huge.
But I noticed that none of the magicians ever made it past the first few rounds. So I started analyzing why. I mean they’re actually great in front of 6,000 people in the audience but to the millions of people who are watching on TV at home and then voting, there was a disconnect between the performer.
Again I analyzed why.
Well television is really an intimate medium. And the best kind of magic for television is close-up magic as it too is intimate. It draws the viewer in.
So armed with this new insight I realized the answer was right in front of me. It was literally hiding in plain sight. I didn’t need to perform big flashy Vegas type illusions. I needed to do small close-up intimate performances that would blow the minds of the judges and the people watching at home.
Now it took a bit of convincing to get the producers to agree to this whole thing. They definitely did not see it the way that I did at that time. But once I was able to refocus their attention back to what they already knew, which is that television is intimate, therefore the magic actually would be intimate as well. They said okay let’s do it.
It was a paradigm shifting away from magic to be done on America’s Got Talent. And I actually became the first magician to ever make it into the finals on that show. Thank you.
Now it all happened because I was able to shift the producers’ expectations of what they thought would work.
So right now it’s time for me to shift yours. As I mentioned earlier throughout this entire talk, I’ve given you two clues to the problems I’m about to show you right now.