The magic of mastery

A magic trick works precisely because we don’t know how it is performed.

A sureshot way to ruin a magic show is to find out how all the tricks are performed. Because we like to be dazzled by magic, we don’t do this. We preserve the magic by keeping its performance a secret.

Savants across fields seem like magicians. When Seth Godin speaks in public, TM Krishna sings a carnatic raga, or Magnus Carlen plays speed chess, they appear to be performing one magic trick after the other. And since we want to preserve the magic, we don’t try to think about how they do what they do.

With the right training and practice, anybody can learn to perform a magic trick. Mastery seems like magic, and like magic, it can be learnt.

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