The Sense of Wondering (The Creativity Explorer. Episode 167)


Albert Llorens is a Spanish magician who, amongst other things, performs magic on cruise ships. I met with Albert, and his assistant, in Barcelona because I wanted to understand what we could learn about the creative process by listening to a master of magic.

Albert told me how the trick to creating a great magic trick is to have the audience full of wonder by keeping them wondering how the trick was done. The unique thing with magic is that you give people a puzzle that they cannot figure out – and still they are inspired. (Normally, people get frustrated when they cannot solve a riddle/puzzle/problem. But in the case of magic, people are disappointed if they can figure out how the trick was done.)

Sometimes Albert will show the audience how a trick is created, but before he shows them, he tells them to “remember the feeling of awe they had when they did not yet know how the trick was done.”

Because the minute you find out how a trick is done, the magic is gone.

And, in a way, it’s the same with the idea process, as soon as we find the solution to a problem, we move from problem-solving mode to execution, and a lot of the wonder is gone.

Let’s use a simple example of solving the Rubik’s cube. When you try it out for the first time, you are full of frustration, curiosity, and trial and error. You are in problem-solving mode. But as soon as you have learned the moves to solving it you are just going through the motions to get it done. It can still be a satisfying feeling, but it’s not a creative feeling.

Listening to Albert describe the magic of being in wonder, I think we should follow his suggestion and try to cherish that feeling of “how?” that we feel until we solve a creative project.

To value “the sense of wondering” more.

(Picture of Albert performing a card trick on me that I am STILL wondering how the hell he did it…)


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