So This Is My Why | Issue 18
Welcome to Issue 18 of the STIMY Newsletter featuring Oz Pearlman – an Israeli American, Emmy Award-winning mentalist & magician!
But before that, if you’re here for the first time or would like to have this weekly newsletter delivered straight to you, click the Subscribe Now button below!
This week’s STIMY episode features one of the my most unique – and certainly unexpected – guests! And is an example of one of the loveliest things that has been happening to me since I started running my own podcast.
Having people – friends & family included – reach out to support & also suggest potential guests they know that they could connect me with!
Oz Pearlman is one such person. I’d never heard of him before and my closest brush with a mentalist was bingeing on the Mentalist a long while back. But a great friend of mine recently sat through a virtual session with Oz, where he blew everyone’s mind with his “mind-reading” tricks via Zoom – she became one of his volunteers! – and she then offered to connect me with Oz.
How could I say no to a professional, Emmy Award-winning mentalist/magician who also reached #3 on America’s Got Talent & is a multiple marathon/ultra marathon running champion?
Thankfully, Oz also agreed and that’s how this week’s episode came about!
Oz only had an hour to spare for this interview, but I like to think that we covered some interesting bits, including why he thinks magic is an essential soft skill for everyone. Honestly, I’m inclined to think that maybe magic tricks should be offered as part of a school’s extra-curriculum activities now! That’d be fun.
Now onto this week’s episode!
Oz Pearlman is an Emmy award-winning mentalist & magician who recently emerged as the runner up & finalist in America’s Got Talent Season 10 in 2015.
He has performed for A-list celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, politicians and professional athletes, and also appeared on numerous networks including NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The TODAY Show & ABC World News. He is also an avid marathon & ultra-marathon runner, having competed in events like the Badwater 135 Miler, Hawaii Ironman World Championships, Western States 100 and Spartathlon.
Here is his journey.
- 3:47: Being a child math prodigy (scored a perfect 800 for his SATs at age 12)
- 4:36: Discovering a love of magic
- 6:19: Meeting Ryan Hertz & Bruce Kessler
- 9:41: Getting his first magic gig at age 14
- 12:13: Knowing how to break the ice with strangers
- 16:34: Deciding to stay behind in USA & pay for himself through college
- 19:00: Finding his own magic community
- 20:49: The balance between sharing magic tricks & keeping your secrets to yourself
- 26:54: Simple magic tricks for anyone to learn
- 31:30: The Off Broadway Show, Watch Magic, that attracted Ethan Hawke & the New York Times
- 35:44: “Making it” as a full-time, freelance magician
- 37:46: Why Oz thinks he didn’t make it the first time he applied for America’s Got Talent in 2012
- 38:46: Coming up with new magic tricks on AGT within days
- 39:56: Competing on America’s Got Talent while training for 3 marathons!
- 43:17: Impact of COVID-19 on Oz’s business
Favourite Finds of the Week
Podcast: Jay Shetty on Impact Theory
For some strange reason, I’ve never listened to Jay Shetty until this point but this particular episode with Tom Bilyeu blew me away.
Who is Jay Shetty?
An English author, former monk, podcaster, social media and purpose coach who once worked for Arianna Huffington and was on the cover sory of AdWeek magazine’s Young Influentials issue in 2019.
The irony of me running a podcast asking about people’s whys is that I actually don’t enjoy vague, philosophical discussions on “why” that have no immediate real world application, so I often avoid episodes that talk about “finding your purpose”. But I decided to give this episode a go & was so blown away!
A lot of it has to do with the fact that Tom Bilyeu is such a fantastic interviewer – Tom also likes to go through all the content his guests have ever produced before, and create in-depth data-driven discussions around his findings, which I really appreciate.
- Think of yourself some 10 – 25 years in the future & ask if that’s where you want to be. You don’t know what you need in life until you figure out who you are
- On the principle of selfless sacrifice: Jay learned to plant trees under whose shade we do not plan to sit, and realised that giving everything up for someone else is the best thing in the world
- On steps to construct an ideal life:
- Expose yourself to unique experiences & role models – you can’t be what you can’t see
- Find the experiences/role models that you like and take it seriously. Even if that means observing them addictively from afar
- Decision whether that’s for you. Do you want the lifestyle/hardwork, and not just the end result?
- What constitutes an “ideal life”?
- Jay: When there is HEAD, HEART and HAND.
- Is there a process to gain more self-awareness?
- Jay: Understanding & differentiating between Systems 1 and 2.
- System 1 is your initial, default response to anything & System 2 is the conscious effort to process what’s happening.
- What often trips people up?
- Jay: There’s too much noise. So switch your associations/circle of people you’re hanging out with.
- How do I find my passion?
- Jay: Look towards the ikigai concept.
Article: The Rise of Cohort-Based Courses
Some of the hottest trends arising out of the creator economy is the creation of cohort-based courses. Where you sign up to an online course & go through it with a specific group of people, as opposed to having it be self-paced.
It’s proving to be quite a success. A prime example that comes to mind is Ali Abdaal: a Cambridge medic/YouTuber who built a 1 million YouTube following in 3 years & is launching his 3rd Cohort, which has 400 spaces (I think it’s almost filled up by now). It blows my mind to see how successful he’s been, particularly since his Part-Time YouTuber Academy course price ranges from $1495 – $4995!
Tiago Forte wrote an interesting article about why cohort-based courses are such a big deal by:
- Looking into the past: Online education began with EdX/Udacity, then companies like Udemy & Skillshare tried to figure out how to monetise online courses, before other companies like Kajabi/Teachable arrived to give creators an easy platform to create their own courses from scratch.
- The proliferation of courses meant that lots of people were enthusiastically buying them, but then allowed it to gather digital dust as it demanded too much time, enegy and dedication. Discipline was/is an issue! Due to the lack of success in completing the courses, people started thinking that they were rip-offs.
- So in this current 4th wave, we are seeing the rise of cohort-based courses: where learners join together and move through a course at the same pace, often with guidance from the instructor.
- What sets cohort-based courses apart: Community, accountability, interaction, and impact
Person: Daniel Schiffer
Daniel Schiffer is a recent discovery (thanks Yi Jun!) and is a fantastic Canadian video creator who shows lots of incredible BTS shots of how he captures footage for his food/drink products.
You also very quickly see how much he loves Storyblocks. 😅
Article: 9 Practical Ways to Boost Your Creativity
An interesting collection of advice from all sorts of people (writers, screenwriters, directors & entrepreneurs) on how they boost their own creativity:
- Stephen King: Your ‘muse’ lives in your basement. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Get your butt in the chair and start typing.
- Shonda Rhimes: Turn creativity into a habit. If you want to be a good writer, writer every single day and use a mental trigger (e.g. having a cup of green tea) to tell your brain that it’s time to write.
- Christopher Nolan: Borrow ideas from different disciplines.
- Ed Catmull: Aim to fail the elevator pitch as ambitious ideas can’t be summed up in 30 seconds! Instead, Catmull thinks that failure, uncertainty & overreaching are essential to creative growth
- Katie Arnold: Document the boring in notebooks, e.g. interesting quotes or ideas. Then go through the notebook once a month.
- Malcolm Gladwell: Fall into intellectual rabbit holes. (1) Take a wall through towns/buildings that pique your curiosity; (2) visit a library & find books you’ve liked before or something new; and (3) look at the footnotes in the books/articles to find new sources.
- Sara Blakely: Let your mind wander.
- Brandon Stanton: Ideas breed ideas.
- Gay Talese: Become a relentless chronicler – Gay saves photos, receipts, travel itineraries, notes and other ‘evidnece’ to document his life.
Upcoming STIMY Guests
- Nigel Stanislaus: Celebrity makeup artist who’s worked with the likes of Michael Buble, Mel B & Olivia Newton John, been the judge for Miss Universe Australia & Australia’s Next Top Model, and done editorials for the likes of Harpers Bazaar, Elle & GQ. He’s currently on tour with Tina Allen in Australia.
Also, do you know anyone with an interesting/inspiring story? Or someone whose backstory you’d love to hear?
Feel free to hit me up @ sothisismywhy(at)gmail.com 😊
Until next week!
P/S: If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up here.