The Art of Misdirection


The gist: This entertaining demonstration shows that where we direct our attention has the ultimate impact on what the outcome is. Sometimes it’s the things that we look at everyday that we are blinded to.

 “Attention is a powerful thing…it shapes your reality.”

While long-term goals steer you in the general direction, you might close many doors on yourself by over-focusing on one path. This is especially true for people like me in our early twenties. I have a friend who wanted to get into banking all throughout college but couldn’t land a satisfactory position. In his last semester he realized that he didn’t even like banking that much. He was simply so focused on achieving his original goal that he never considered anything else. So he started looking into sales, and it turned out that he’s a great salesperson. And now that’s what he’s doing and he’s happier than ever.

Another friend who graduated 2 years before me once said to me that new college grads tend to think they’ve “figured out themselves” or know what they want, but they really have no idea. The journey of discovering what you want is just starting as you begin your life beyond textbooks. I found this idea super encouraging—it’s the unknowns and explorations that make the future exciting! Be aware of where you put your attention, and keep your options open.

On the other hand, we are often so obsessed with our daily life and never-ending errands that we forget to spare some attention for the small but awesome things around us.  Just a couple of thoughts, do you know the color of the flowers on the sidewalk of your way to work? Have you focused on taking the “perfect picture” at a scenic spot instead of enjoying the moment? I once read a piece of advice about watching fireworks: you should never take a video of fireworks because you will never re-watch it; might as well fully appreciate the moment.

It’s hilarious to see the way Apollo Robbins takes away the wallet, watch etc. from the audience member without him noticing at all. It’s a bit scary to realize that our attention can be easily manipulated. “If you could control somebody’s attention, what would you do with it?”