The power of tension

What makes a magic trick so captivating?

A magician pulls rabbits out of a tiny hat and makes coins vanish. This induces tension in our minds. Our understanding of the world tells us that coins don’t vanish and rabbits don’t fit into tiny hats. The magician holds our attention by harnessing this tension.

A story or a movie builds tension only to resolve it in a climax, sometimes leaving some tension behind to bring you back to the sequel. Authors of crime thrillers build in a bit of tension into the end of every single page so that you are tempted to keep them turning.

A quiz works because of the tension of an unanswered question. The closer you feel you are to the answer, the higher the tension is. Tension keeps you glued to the television set as you root for your sports team on the other side of the world. As your two-week vacation approaches, you are excited by the tension of discovering a new part of the world.

To inspire change is to create tension and relieve it in purposeful ways. It works like magic!

Inspiration: Seth Godin

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