What an illusionist and snow flakes taught me about changing the world

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 6.15.22 PM

Photo courtesy of @harrisiii on Instagram.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the airport in Chicago waiting to fly home to Knoxville. I’ve spent the past day surrounded by creators, dreamers, and storytellers at Story Chicago. Most conferences I’ve been to have been packed with information about what we should do and how we should do it.

Story is a little different.

Story doesn’t focus as much on the task at hand as it does the person doing it. It speaks to the creative person, explaining how they’re wired and what their motivation is. If the typical conference talks about how and what, Story talks about why.

I’ve always known I was a little “different.” I knew my emotions and desires were wired in a way that was unlike most people. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what those differences are and explaining them to others, usually to a blank stare and suggestions I be more like them. Story was the affirmation that, while I am wired different, there are a lot of people wired a lot like me.

There was an illusionist named Harris III who performed a short bit during the afternoon session. In it, he talked about his childhood growing up in East Tennessee and how he prayed every year to see snow. It wasn’t until he went to St. Louis for Christmas that it finally happened.

After seeing it for the first time, he was even more amazed at snow than before. The theoretical idea of snow being amazing became overmatched by the tangible feeling and site of it right before him.

In his amazement, his mom told him how no two snowflakes are alike. They’re all uniquely different. He said it was awesome they were all different, but it was even more awesome that they came together – a bunch of uniquely wired and designed flakes – to form this beautiful site of snow covered ground.

While telling this story, Harris III was performing an illusion where he took a wet piece of paper and turned it into what looked like a small blizzard. The stage quickly became covered in little white paper snow flakes to show us what it looked like when those uniquely wired and designed flakes come together.

What would it look like if a bunch of uniquely wired and designed people decided to come together under the purpose of blanketing the world around us? If I used my gift set and you used yours, we could impact more people than if we did it alone.

I still want to change the world, and I still want you to do it with me.

Are you in?

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.

-Jonathan

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