I have been doing magic since I was in elementary school. One of the first times I went to purchase a magic trick was in Salem, MA. I got to the magic shop and spent a while looking at all of the incredible magic tricks. I found one that said “Create an explosion with he snap of a finger!” Wow, could you imagine that! The teachers at school would probably LOVE it! So of course I purchased it.
A funny thing happens when you purchase a magic trick. First your mind runs wild with the possibilities of your potential new power. You see yourself performing this miracle for all of your friends and family members. Then comes the moment you actually open the package. This is usually a moment of severe disappointment... 1) because as you look at the contents of the package, you become confused and wonder how these items can possibly make the trick work. 2) because you realize the secret is not as cool as you imagined and probably won't fool anyone..
Luckily, this was NOT the case with the finger tip explosion!
I rushed home and opened the package. It was two bottles with two different types of powder in them. You place one of the powders on your middle finger, and the other powder on your thumb. When you snap your fingers, BANG! A loud explosion and puff of smoke! What I should have realized at the time was... why did they sell this to a kid...but instead, I started thinking like a smart magician, "wait a minute, why don’t I just mix the two bottles together into one bottle so I only have to put it on one finger.." I tried it out and it worked! Now its only one step. Great idea, right?
So I put the bottle in my magic drawer next to my collection of magical items and decks of cards and went to bed...
I think it was about 3am when I woke up to a loud explosion. My mom frantically barged into the room to see what happened. I was disoriented and confused… smoke filled the room...but then I realized what the cause was. That maybe my brilliant idea wasn’t so brilliant after all. The reason the powder was separated was that it causes a chemical reaction ending in a small explosion, but when you mix all of the powder together, like I did, the explosion isn't so small.
I wafted through the smoke, opened my magic drawer and everything was destroyed. What remained were scraps of playing cards, broken magic tricks, and a huge hole in the bottom. Lucky for me, I learned a valuable lesson about explosives, and as a bonus I didn’t blow my hands off.
I've come a long way since then and a big part of my life has been creating new ideas and also helping others do the same.
Throughout our lives we come up with many ideas. Some of them are bad, some are good, and once in a while we think of something really great. What I have come to realize and understand is that some of the bad ideas, if developed and thought about enough, can eventually turn into the great ideas. And some of our greatest ideas, like simplifying the magical finger explosion method by mixing two dangerous chemicals, can turn out to be the worst idea and destroy all of your magic.
So when I am developing an idea, I often think about the story above and the lessons it taught me. I remind myself not to stop developing an idea to soon. Then, when I come up with something that I think is good, I ask myself the question that my mentor Giovanni Livera always asks me. "What is another right answer?"
Thank you for reading,