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Interview with John Duke Logan

As a creative consultant, professional magician and keynote speaker John Duke Logan believes that “impossible” is just a word. He combines the strategies that entertainers and entrepreneurs use to achieve goals – and makes these concepts applicable to his audiences’ personal and professional life. Read more about why he loves magic and his favorite speaking experiences in this interview.

What is it about magic that inspires you?

I’ve always enjoyed the idea that everything we believe or see can always be looked at from a different perspective. However, the moment that really skyrocketed my career was when I was really bored at my aunt’s birthday party when I was 12 years old and decided to create a trick. I went back home and filmed a performance and put it on YouTube. A few weeks later, a talent agency found the video and had no idea how I was doing it. One thing led to another and I signed a contract for them being their Creative Consultant. I was helping people who were on teams for big names such as David Blaine, David Copperfield, and Penn & Teller. A few years later, I met my personal consultant and his name is Stathi Zaf. Now that I’m older, I’ve definitely changed my style of magic and we develop new ideas every day. Last year I accepted a digital media job with the Patriots and starting performing to the players. The media nicknamed me the “Team Magician” for the Patriots since I had my own show on Patriots.com where I would perform to the players (Tom Brady actually mentioned me in his press conference too).

I’ve realized that as we grow older, our imagination starts to dissolve because of societal norms. However, magic brings us back to a time where we believed anything was possible. Experiencing magic – in a sense – is a type of time traveling technique that can bring us back to our childhood. That’s the aim behind some routines I do.

Magic is all about breaking societal norms. I believe people are fascinated by magic because it breaks us out of our everyday routine and what we believe about the world. It blurs the line between imagination and reality while at the same time making us wonder that the world is filled with possibilities that we haven’t even explored yet.

 

Did you know that companies HIRE magicians to help fix internal and external innovation? And no, it’s not about deception, manipulation, or misdirection.

After performing magic over the years, I’ve realized that society’s image of a magician can sometimes be WAY off. Many people believe that magicians are the ones who go to the party, become the center of attention, and fool everyone with their “puzzles.”

I actually HATE tricking people.

In fact, I’m more fascinated by the creative process they use. How do they brainstorm new ideas? How do they get to Point A to Point B? How do they take a vision in their head and make it a reality?

I decided to travel the country to study and speak to some of the world’s most creative and successful magicians. After I did that, I realize there was a lot more to “magic” than “tricks”. Believe it or not, only a few magicians use bunnies and hats anymore.

I started to understand that these techniques to develop new concepts could actually be applied to other aspects in life to help people achieve their goals.

As a result of seeing the connection between the performing arts and entrepreneurship, I travel to leadership conferences and innovation summits to share my findings and the step-by-step strategies in an interactive way.

For instance, if we can start looking at situations from a different perspective and adapt the same creativity techniques magicians use to make the “impossible” become possible, then why can’t we make our “impossible” goals in life become possible as well?

 

Who are your role models?

Stathi Zaf and Justin Willman

 

Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

Other than performing on America’s Got Talent and receiving a standing ovation from Howie Mandel, I love when people tell me how my presentation has helped them in their personal and professional life. Here’s one of my favorite emails:

“We could not stop talking about you for the next week after you spoke at our conference! The strategies you taught us and the routines you did were absolutely incredible. You do an amazing job integrating valuable techniques to be more creative while at the same time entertaining the audience. Our team used your five-stage creative process 30 minutes after the presentation and we developed SEVEN times the amount of ideas for our new fundraiser than what we normally do! Your stage presence and demeanor makes you feel like we’ve known you our whole life. I overheard one attendee say ‘How are we going to top this for next year? This guy is incredible!'”

 

What would be your ideal event to speak at?

Any event with people that want to experience “edutainment” (combining aspects of education + entertainment into an experience that seeks to improve learning by making it fun).

There can be 10 people in the audience or 10,000 in the audience. As long as people are entertained and take away something to apply to their personal or professional life, that’s all that matters to me.

 

How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

I eat a plain bagel toasted with cream cheese and listen to The Beatles.

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