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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington, DC
Tuesday, October 5, 2021


David Morey

The pandemic has been a time of crisis for government, business, the arts—and for all of us. One cross-discipline lesson I’ve learned from magic—my “hobby gone out of control”—is to use these times of crisis to invest in yourself—in your family, your lifestyle, your business, or your art. In magic, as in business, the pandemic has been a time to get ready for coming battles—to develop new ways to share our remarkable art that can truly help people heal at this critical time.

In many ways, doing good in times like these is a form of battle—and like the gladiator, this is a time to stop and take care of yourself first. This is similar to when the airplane announcement comes on and reminds you to put your own oxygen mask on first . . . before you begin to help others.

So, a key lesson is put your own oxygen mask on first. And sometimes, this means adapting, building resilience, and rebooting.

But how best to do this in magic—or in life? Here’s my most basic and simple lesson from the pandemic: do nothing!

That’s right: do nothing. Sometimes, magical breakthroughs and great advances come from the creative stillness of doing nothing. An hour of doing nothing.

Earlier this year, I wrote about former secretary of state George Shultz passing at age 100. During the 1980s, Shultz learned the power of doing nothing. He developed a weekly ritual. He closed the door to his office and sat down with a pen and a pad of paper. And for the next hour, Shultz tried to clear his mind and think about big ideas, rather than the minutiae of government work.

In fact, only two people could interrupt him, he told his secretary: “My wife . . . or the President.”

Letting your mind wander, Sandi Mann, a British psychologist, has said, “makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.” The Dutch even have a word for this concept: niksen, or the art of doing nothing.

As Amos Tversky, a pathbreaking psychologist, said: “You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

So, whether it’s for the art of magic or business or family or lifestyle . . . go waste an hour a week. Do nothing. And watch the magic happen.

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