How to be the world’s best magician

Most people know who David Blaine is, but if you don’t – checkout one of his most popular specials. He is sometimes credited with being the magician that brought street magic, or 1-on-1 performance, to popularity. He also is an “endurance artist” – doing incredible feats such as staying under water for a week or not eating for 44 days.

David Blaine does a TED Talk where he explains his journey to breaking a world record by holding his breath for 17 minutes and 4 seconds. The talk is from 2013 but I just recently discovered it, and there are some brilliant takeaways from it.

If you make it to the end of the video, he starts crying and you realize that this isn’t a TED Talk about how to hold your breath. It’s a TED Talk about wanting something really badly, and spending every waking moment of your existence since you were a child making incredible sacrifices in pursuit of absolute perfection of your craft.

Every morning, this is for months, I would wake up and the first thing that I would do is I would hold my breath…

He ain’t no bloke that just wanders the streets aimlessly with a deck of cards. He pushed himself religiously towards his goal of being the world’s best magician, and regardless of whether or not you agree he can claim that title, he deserves every single ounce of success he’s attained. This is a powerful message to today’s aspiring entrepreneurs, entertainers, athletes, and academics – you truly, truly have to want something badly, if you’re going to succeed on the world stage. To a fault, even, as if you are a prisoner of your own passion. As if it simply isn’t possible that don’t succeed. Even if you’re not trying to break the world record for holding your breath, sometimes it may feel like you are holding your breath for months or even years at a time. But you will gladly do it. Cause you simply can’t help yourself. That’s how badly you have to want it. And if you don’t want it that badly, someone else will want it more and take it all away from you. This is what David Blaine’s talk is really about.

David Blaine. I. Am. In. Awe.

  • DN

    I remember watching this a couple months ago and I thought the same thing. Absolutely stunning. Good post Anson, good post.

    • Anson Kao

      Thanks Dien. It was the first video in a while that I couldn’t stop thinking about. So inspiring!

  • akamaozu

    Great read! You should write more, Anson.