Last year, whenever people found out I was a magician they would inevitably ask me if I'd seen "America's Got Talent" and the magician that was on there. His name is Shin Lim, and yes, I've seen him. What many folks don't realize is that he's actually a world-champion magician, winning the FISM award (think "Magician Olympics"), the IBM Close-Up Championship, and many others. He's toured with "The Illusionists" all over the world, and has been seen on all sorts of television shows.
Folks assume the people on AGT are all nobodies who just happen to be getting lucky breaks, but that's not true. They are all individuals who are willing to dedicate countless hours of their lives perfecting their craft. Whether it's singing, juggling, dancing, escaping dangerous stunts, or yes, even doing card tricks, it's something that they have done over and over and over again until they became extraordinary.
There is a famous quote from Jerry Rice that says, “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” That pretty much sums up most of the successful people in life.
Most amazing people seem that way only because they make what they do seem so natural and easy. And the fact is that almost anyone could do those things as well--if they were just willing to put in the time and effort to practice. It's that tedium of playing the same notes over and over again, or doing the same trick over and over again that stops so many folks from reaching their goals.
For instance, I watched a magician at a convention I attended last year perform a truly simple self-working card trick and completely baffle the folks who were watching him--all of them seasoned magicians! How did he do it? He'd practiced the few moves there were diligently and then worked on his story to tell as he went along with it. And then he just made it all seem like it was nothing to him. And he could, because we'd never seen the behind-the-scenes work that led up to it.
So what about you? What tedious thing would you have to do on repeat to be truly successful and rise above those around you?
I'm not necessarily referring to becoming a successful musician, dancer, or singer. But what about in life? Are you willing to cut off the television and read those self-help books that will help you manage your time better? Are you willing to wake up an hour early in the morning so you have time to go to the gym? Will you do the little extra things that will make your work stand out from those around you--even if it takes a few more minutes?
If you put in that extra effort today, it will help you become more successful tomorrow. And soon you will start to notice those "extra" moments getting harder and harder to skip as they become a vital part of who you are and what drives you.
Eventually, someone will comment on how well you do a particular job or talent. They might even say, "You make it look easy"...and they'll have no idea what it took to get there.
Bruce Lee once said, "I don’t fear the man who practiced 10,000 kicks one time. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”. Repetition brings fluidity in anything we do with purposeful excellence.
Be willing to stand above the crowd. Be willing to put forth that extra effort. Maybe it won't be simple today, and there will no doubt be times when you want to chuck it in because you aren't seeing the results you envisioned, but stick with it. Do the things others won't do today, and let them see how truly spectacular you are tomorrow.