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Beating the Odds

Houdini’s Impossible Trick

His audience said, “Sorry, that’s impossible.” And maybe it was.

But Houdini did it anyway.

Today is Day 7 of our seminar on “How to Do the Impossible.” Dr. Rob Gilbert and I are spending 17 days trying to convince you that you can do the things you believe are impossible. You can win that game, get that job, get in shape.

Rob gives daily messages on his Success Hotline at (973) 743-4690. And I’m blogging right here at TotalGamePlan.

Long before modern magicians like David Copperfield and Doug Henning, Harry Houdini made his living and went down in history by doing tricks that seemed impossible. They weren’t, of course. In fact, once you know the secrets, the tricks are actually kind of boring.

That’s our message today. People who do the impossible aren’t more gifted than others. They’ve just found the right strategy.

Houdini astounded the tsar and his family in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a European tour at the dawn of the 20th century. Here’s a description from Orson Welles’ Sketch Book, a series of six short television commentaries for the BBC in 1955.

“Houdini had asked for the various people in the small audience to write on slips of paper some impossible thing they would like to have performed. … to ring the bells in the Kremlin may not sound like much, but as a matter of fact, at that time, there were no ropes connecting the bells, and for a century at least, they’d been silent. … Houdini moved to the window, raised his arm, it was a snowy night; there was moment’s very dramatic pause, and then, over the snow-covered square, there could be heard first very dimly, and finally, in full chorus…the bells of the Kremlin. You could imagine the effect of that!”

I’m not going to tell you how Houdini did it. You can find it on the Web. My point is just that doing the impossible is not about talent. It’s about finding the right strategy.

Here’s what Dr. Gilbert tells his sport psychology students. When some people fail, they doubt their ability. When winners fail, they never doubt their ability. They re-examine their strategy.

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. While you’re here, you can find many other resources to help you succeed.

Think Better, Win More!” will give you a mental game to match your physical game.

To get better at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success.”

Need some motivation? Everyone needs it now and then. Open any page of “Thank God You’re Lazy! The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back” for a story or a quote to lift your spirits.

Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.


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