Say “magic” and the first word that springs up in the mind of any magician or any fan of magic is Houdini.
Harry Houdini was a magician and escape artist who rose to become the greatest magician ever, one of the 20th century’s first multimedia celebrities and America’s first superhero. Houdini gained international fame with his skills in freeing himself from all kinds of handcuffs and escaping from jail cells. No matter the kind of handcuffs or locks on the prison cells – and many of these were specially designed by expert locksmiths and security personnel – Houdini would escape in a matter of minutes, effortlessly. Some of his most popular acts include dazzling illusions and death-defying stunts such as the “milk can escape” and the “Chinese Water Torture Cell”.
Houdini always boasted that he could escape from any prison cell in the world in less than an hour, on the condition that he was allowed to go into the cell dressed in his street clothes. He toured many major towns and cities around Europe and America and he often succeeded in escaping from the cells.
Then came a challenge from the police jail cell in Preston, Lancashire, Britain. A summary of this story as narrated in the book “40 Days” by Alton Gansky and shared on the soundfaith.com website is shared below:
“Harry Houdini made a name for himself by escaping from every imaginable confinement — from straightjackets to multiple pairs of handcuffs clamped to his arms. He boasted that no jail cell could hold him. Time and again, he would be locked in a cell only to reappear minutes later.
It worked every time — but one. He accepted another invitation to demonstrate his skill. He entered the cell, wearing his street clothes, and the jail cell door shut. Once alone, he pulled a thin but strong piece of metal from his belt and began working the lock. But something was wrong. No matter how hard Houdini worked, he couldn’t unlock the lock. For two hours he applied skill and experience to the lock but failed time and time again. Two hours later he gave up in frustration.
The problem? The cell had never been locked. Houdini worked himself to near exhaustion trying to achieve what could be accomplished by simply pushing the door open. The only place the door was locked was in his mind”.
The Lancashire police played a joke on Houdini the great. And is life not much like this?
How often do we worry and fret over problems that exist only in our mind. How many times have we given up on our dreams and goals because the situation is ‘too difficult’, ‘impossible’ or ‘just hopeless’ when all that is required is just a little shift in our thinking, or a slight change in our approach.
Just a little push and a whole new world of possibilities can be open to us. Before you write off any situation, just remember Houdini and refuse to allow life play a joke on you.