Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Magicians and Their Secrets

There are a few skills and faculties I've worked very hard on for decades (after having started out with natural aptitude), and I've gotten really good at them (though there are way more realms where I'm pathetically lousy; it takes all kinds!). Yet, most often when I find myself around people involved in those very same areas, they pay very little attention. Respect - or even admiration - might be expressed at the outset, but my process - which I never hide - is rarely observed.

I know that a lot of it's because I don't act like a pompous prick. As a low gravitas individual (LGI), I don't exactly compel hushed solicitation. But what I've learned is very surprising: even magicians who are loose and free with their secrets find themselves preserving their shroud of mystery due to sheer disinterest.

Similarly, it's a misconception that you must take great care to protect your creative ideas from being stolen. First, the very few human beings capable of exuecuting ideas into existence are already extremely busy executing ideas into existence, rather than fishing around trying to snatch your idea (unless you've got, like, a procedure for manufacturing a widget for 2¢ less per gross). The problem's never persistent over-interest. It's disinterest. Even those gifted with fantastic ideas and the eloquence to explain them are universally misunderstood and ignored until the big reveal (and even then, good luck with that better mouse trap!). Even the most brilliant innovations are invariably laughed at and undervalued in the beginning (even the iPhone) - and those are just the ones that we've heard of!

To digress from my digression, here's my standard reply when asked whether I've ever "ruined" a restaurant by over-publicizing it: "I've seen way, way, way more great places wither from disinterest than from over-attention."

That's why keeping great stuff secret is a mortal sin in my religion.

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