Daniel O'Shea

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is choosing the right extra.

Magic What-If

When I find myself in a new situation, or wrestling with a challenging situation, I use this technique to help prepare and set myself up for success. This is a technique from an acting class that I find to be very helpful in these situations. It’s called the magic what if?

The technique is relatively simple, and it may feel awkward the first couple times you use it. As with any skill it gets easier as you apply it over time, and now I don’t even think about it before I use it.

The Technique

First take the task at hand and imagine a person who is the most skilled in the world at this task. This could be a real person or imaginary, the result will be the same either way.

I start with what would they do. What would they say, how would they react? Next I try to figure out what beliefs this person has that make them successful. Now imagine you needed to play this person on stage or in a movie, how would you prepare? What if magically you were this person, how would that influence what you did?

Finally I do a couple of practice runs of the task in my mind as this character at first, then as myself. I really try to see, feel, smell, and use all of my senses if I can. I try some scenarios that are the most amazing successes I can imagine, I also try some that are scorching failures. How does that feel, does that change the beliefs or intentions I’m going to approach the task with?

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