Last week, a 26 year old fashion editor won a trip to the Caribbean by solving a puzzle on The Wheel of Fortune with only one letter and an apostrophe. It was a long puzzle and her solution amazed everyone who saw it, especially her two opponents and host Pat Sajak. You’ll be amazed if you watch the video.
The reality is that she simply had a system for solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles that she had honed and practiced over the years. The truth is, she solved the puzzle with only the apostrophe, but she had to guess a letter before she could solve. She even thought enough to select a letter that appeared only once so that her feat would seem more impressive.
Even more amazing is the “mathemagic” performed by Art Benjamin.
The same is true. He has a system and he has practiced a lot.
We want to attribute special powers to people who can do these amazing things so easily. Often it’s just a matter of practice. In fact, every one of us does something in a way that seems amazing to someone else. When people point out how amazing I am at something, I try to explain that it’s the result of lots of practice over lots of years. I don’t want them to dismiss my skill as some natural born gift, and I don’t want them to think that one has to be special to do something like that. I also bask in the adoration for just a moment, because I have earned it.
By the way, the Wheel puzzle solution: “I’ve got a good feeling about this.” Priceless.