Magical Preparation

Warren Buffet once said, “You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. It just doesn’t work that way.”

In a world obsessed with hacks and shortcuts, sometimes there’s just no substitute for careful preparation and patience.

This principle is the secret to one of my favorite magic tricks: The magician invites an audience member to pick a card, which is then sealed in an envelope. The card is ultimately predetermined — the magician knows ahead of time which one it will be.

The next step in the trick is truly a free choice, though.

The magician asks the audience member to pick from dozens of sealed boxes of tea. And from one of these brand new boxes, the participant selects a sealed packet and opens it, revealing their card inside!

Of course, the boxes aren’t actually brand new. The magic is that the magician has painstakingly opened all of the boxes ahead of time, inserted the same card into every single packet, and resealed them.

That’s it. That’s the trick. Just an insane amount of preparation.

The more boxes the magician preps, the more unbelievable the trick becomes, because no one could possibly voluntarily dedicate that much of their life to something as tedious as sealing a six of diamonds in hundreds of tea packets.

But someone has.

And when you’re willing to put in that much preparation, the results can be magical.

Hat tip to Jacob Kaplan-Moss for sharing the magic trick.


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