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The Creator Of Illusions

On November 17, 2009, in Successful Leadership, by Neculai Fantanaru

Increase your power of persuasion and influence, without falling into the trap of illusions that you create.

I carefully keep in my bookcase a very old book, the strong palm fiber wrapping of which it is sewn with a red line. I cherish it deeply. It is my only connection with its author, a man who will remain forever in the heart of every person who was present at one of his shows, in the weakness and strength in each of them. I know little about him. Because he never told anything about himself or about his past. Furthermore, he discouraged every attempt of incursion in his life. I did not even manage to find his name, there are only a few who know him, because he wanted and knew how to keep his entire existence a secret.

Through the mystery surrounding him, he distinguishes from everybody, and I think that is what makes him memorable. Nevertheless, I, being the only one having a remembrance from him, know how he would like people to call him: "The creator of illusions".

Lights were switched off in the hall. At the left and at the right of the scene, on some small pedestals, four torches were burning with a white-orange flame. The scene seemed to be empty. Silence still reigned over. Then, on the background, a strange music started to play slowly. Almost at order, the drums that increased suspense started to echo. Furthermore, suddenly, HE appeared from nowhere. A Venetian style mask, beautifully elaborated, was hiding his face. The black hooded cape and his black suit, which maintained the mystery, gave him an air of nobility.

The show started. He slowly lifted up in the air. I was mesmerized by the way he flew his cape from the left to the right, as if the cape was helping him to rise. Everything started to feel unreal. He was different from all the other illusionists I had seen on TV. His person seemed to me composed of two distinct parts: one visible part, the other one invisible, probably because of the dark that reigned over the hall. I could not realize if his fine performance was really hiding magic or cheatery. He sometimes appeared, sometimes disappeared. However, he was playing his part flawlessly. He certainly saw through me and the other spectators, he knew what we were thinking, and knew how to act. I somehow felt in the middle of the most amazing phantasmagoria of an original illusionist. He was passing over an emotion and an extra-special feeling.

During the entire show I was very attentive. I was hoping, probably like all the other spectators, to discover his tricks. I was not satisfied with the gestures and manoeuvres he was performing, I felt the need to explain myself, to discover what lies behind them. However, my attempts failed. All his secrets, all the illusions he created in that two hours of show will never be known by anyone. Only by HIM – The Creator of Illusions.

Leadership: Do you block or unblock people’s potential to reproduce an experience that does not forgive even the smallest error?

The notion of "illusion", the blind trust in an authority with enforcement of an advanced science, has different contents from one system of thought to another. Here are just a few of the most common senses that leadership acquires when subject to requirements of form and substance.

First, early abandonment of real identity separating the two types of content: one that disturbs through its enigmatic character, and one accessible, which impresses and attracts. In this case, the space for the act of transmitting an inspiring and mobilizing message, maximizing the passion for performance, is separated by an invisible barrier from the space of balance that gives meaning to the simplifying approach of the "mysteries’" understanding and exploitation process – i.e. the higher thinking that articulates on a reality difficult to justify, on the axis of a highly sophisticated science.

Then, the gap between people’s potential to reproduce an experience that does not forgive even the smallest leaks and the results they can generate from the impact with an explosion of associations, comparisons, equivalents, analogies and valuable feedback, be it positive or negative, necessary to critical mirroring preceding the stage of evolution.

Leadership: Do you set an original relationship, but which does not work by virtue of a coherent self-image?

When it comes to illusion, we think about leaving our comfort zone and entering a supernatural area without a simple analysis of how scarce resources are allocated to achieve a particular unit of "product", whose value people can use abundantly. Let’s remember that leadership is a product of science, ethics, culture and practice.

The guidance type of ordinary individuals, depending on the quality of the product offered by the leader after beginning and ending the show named "I am what I am not" or "I know what you don’t know" appears as a form of professional failure, leading slowly, but surely, to anxiety. It’s a kind of betrayal, a cancelation of reciprocity principles.

Basically, common people, or bystanders, are "crushed" by the authority of a higher, difficult to assess entity. They will internalize without comments an original relationship, but which does not work under the virtue of one’s own success image. They will accept with conviction the "fatality" of failure and will weirdly reproduce it in situations that require the awareness of others’ needs.

Leadership: Does the miracle of creation experienced by people around you find its most striking expression in the form that establishes a false profound revelation of your world?

The great secret of an illusionist is that he can deflect public attention, after previously having established a connection with his spectators. Just like some modern poets manage to seize ten connotations with a single symbol, he succeeds in redirecting the audience's attention with a single move. I managed to understand why everything goes so well in a successful illusion show. Because the illusionist is a perfectionist. Nothing would turn up perfect if he did not struggle to make everything perfect. It is not that easy to go from one technique to another. It is not that easy to cast spectators off a concrete, objective world into a world of illusions.

Illusionism involves a great number of materials, team work and a huge effort. Everything that can be embodied and seized through human senses must be modified in such a way that it cannot be perceived any longer.

In this kind of a show, everything must seem real. Everything has to be convincing. It must be clear. So clear that the mystery would become even bigger. Even if the spectators are trying to find a plausible explanation, it should not be found. Observing is not a matter of choice. The public should not perceive reality, but something that does not exist. The reality is complemented by various sounds, smells, feelings or even physical elements, for the illusionist to succeed in detracting the spectators' attention and perceptions. It is not about making tricks, but getting the audience along elsewhere, in order to suspend their beliefs.

Self-image is how you see yourself in an absolute and immutable reality, inaccessible to rational knowledge, in which everything you emanate and emit returns back to you.

Leadership: Can you claim to grow as "an artist of the stage" without daring to compare what you still have to learn from what works, rather than from what fails?

Illusionists are also people. They have fears, passions, desires and ideals. However, they developed some knowledge and abilities that common people do not possess.

Leaders, just like illusionists have developed some knowledge and abilities that few have. And they know how to use them very well in order to ensure their rise and to impose their supremacy. Even so, the biggest mistake a leader can make is that of leading people to a wrong direction, after redirecting their attention, by imposing his personal reality.

There is nothing wrong about imitating an illusionist, in getting into people's heads and captivating their attention, on the contrary, it is advisable for a leader to always arouse their interest. However, people cannot be nourished with "vain illusions". That is the most important thing a leader must pay respect to.

Although a leader is endowed with an unusual illusionist talent, he cannot abuse his position in order to perform tricks. Leadership, even if implies influencing people, it is not an illusionism show for the leader to maintain the illusion of fantasy. A great leader cannot afford to play the "hocus-pocus" when people's lives are at stake. And he cannot rely on optical illusions created by his gestures' ability and velocity, by his hands' perspicacity.

The creator of illusions is the artist who through his whole imagination and dexterity consecrates himself to those things that life and soul poured into it. He is not the man who keeps the secrets of his activity only for personal success out of reasons of selfishness, but rather the man who makes the hidden truths a unique game, an act of control, a matter unpredictable and of powerful emotion which can extract a new perspective approach to art and a new perspective of affirmation.

Leadership, as well-stated someone, is a process through which a person establishes a goal or a direction for one or more persons and causes them to proficiently act together in order to achieve them.

A leader who is not able to distinguish reality from illusion will waste his credibility in time. And if the "show" he performs does not meet people's expectations, his career might turn into a real fiasco.

Conclusion: A leader must start from the existing objective elements, to conceive concrete, feasible strategies and approach methods, for only thus he will attract supporters. Furthermore, if those he co-opts will discover that he only possesses a trivial stick called "the magic wand", the so-called leader will soon smash deplorably, completely abandoned. Disappointed, he will feel like a straw floating on turbid waters.

Increase your power of persuasion and influence, without falling into the trap of illusions that you create.


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