Insights from a Pickpocket

Daniel Martin is a magician and a dear friend of mine. We’re both left handed, devastatingly good looking, and in the business of lying to people.

He can do lots of things I can’t do.

He can steal watches.

If you ever have the pleasure of experiencing him steal your watch first-hand, it’s deeply disturbing. You think you’d feel it, but you absolutely don’t. (And that’s the secret to a lot of why your life sucks. We’ll get back to that.)

Dan understands how attention works, and uses that knowledge for evil to his advantage.

Step 1

First, he gets you completely focused on something that doesn’t have anything to do with your watch.

We’ll call that “Trick A.”

Step 2

Once you’re completely absorbed with Trick A (the distraction) he’s free to take your watch: “Trick Holy Crap.” Your mind simply can’t keep track of what’s going on, so you never notice it’s not on your wrist any more.

The technique of actually removing the watch makes use of a hiccup in our sense of touch called proprioceptive habituation. That’s a fancy term for the fact that people will quickly adapt to a stimulus that’s always present.

You can see an example of this in the movie “Blues Brothers” where John Belushi’s character asks, “How often does the train go by?”

Dan Aykroyd’s character says, “So often you won’t even notice it.”

This is why you don’t feel your watch all the time when you’re wearing it. If you were constantly aware of it, you’d be so distracted you couldn’t walk down the street.

It’s the same reason you aren’t always thinking about your shoes, your belt, or your nose. (But you are now, aren’t you? Feels weird, right?)

Step 3

So there’s a lot going on.

You’re already habituated to the pressure of your watch on your wrist. Then you’re focused on Trick A which allows Dan to grab your wrist tightly, and you quickly get used to that pressure. This enables him to do the more gentle work of unclasping your watch band.

Since your arm got used to the firm pressure from Dan’s hand, when he releases it, your mind can’t distinguish the fact that your watch is no longer there.

Add in some extra time between when he takes it and when he shows you it’s gone, and VOILA! It’s frickin’ magic!

Why Your Life Sucks

You probably already figured out what all this has to do with why your life sucks, but I’m going to spell it out because it took me forever to realize it for myself (and I’m super smart).

You’ve gotten used to how much your life sucks. You constantly distract yourself from how much it sucks with stuff you think you like so you won’t have to think about what’s actually going on.

You’ve told yourself, “I’m happy. I’m ok with how much my life sucks. This is just the way life is.”

Lies.

Dan & I can lie to you (and you never notice) because you’re busy lying to yourself.

You need to get fed up. You have to do things differently.

Otherwise nothing will change, and after your life slips away you’ll realize you’ve lost a lot more than your watch.

You’ve lost your passion. Your drive.

Your life.

See It In Action

Don’t think anyone could steal a watch from you? See Dan do it in real time. There are no camera tricks. No fancy edits to hide what’s going on. You’ll get to see the real work on what it takes to take something valuable from someone you love.

Use this knowledge  to take advantage of everyone you know  for good.

Like what you see? Want more? Go check Dan out at his site, and say hello!