Harris III (“the third”) began his career at a young age, traveling the world as an award-winning, professional illusionist. He has performed for and spoken live to more than two million people in more than 30 countries on five continents. His performances have been televised to millions more on the Travel Channel and ABC Family.
After traveling the globe and making a million dollars by the age of 21, only to go bankrupt a year later, Harris kick-started a decade-long journey to understand the stories we tell ourselves and how they drive all human behavior. Armed with a unique perspective, his career re-exploded as a world-renowned speaker, storyteller and entrepreneur.
He is the author of the book, The Wonder Switch. Tapping into his background as a professional magician and understanding the intersection of storytelling and wonder, Harris developed a structured process that can dramatically change a team’s culture, or rapidly accelerate an individual’s transformation, from the story they feel stuck in, to the life they want to live.
[2:35] Harris III is not a fan of coffee. Jan agrees! Jim is horrified.
[3:35] We lose our wonder when we come across beliefs and stories that don’t match the narrative we have in our head.
[6:55] When Harris III got bullied for the first time as a kid, his wonder switch got turned off and left him in a state of complacency.
[8:35] No matter how smart you are, it doesn’t take much to prove that what you see is not always what you get.
[13:05] The difference between deception and persuasion comes down to the motive behind it.
[14:00] The phrase ‘what if’ can both work for you and against you.
[19:25] Martin Luther King would probably call himself an activist, public speaker, or a reverend, but what he really was was a storyteller.
[20:55] Magic tricks prove we can’t rely on our senses. We get tricked (by the outside world) into believing something we’re not. We get tricked into believing we will never be good leaders, when you have every potential to be a great one.
[25:45] If you want people to achieve the impossible, you first have to make them believe it is possible. You have to tap into their wonder.
[29:40] We are storytelling beings and a lot of what drives our motivation and beliefs is the language we use.
[30:45] You need to combine the right forces together. You need your wow people to be connected to the how people so that these dreams can be big, but also can come true at the same time.
[36:10] When we go through a transition, it’s often messy and not as seamless as we’d like it to be.
[42:00] Harris III shares some of his favorite client stories.
[47:00] Harris III almost missed a special moment with his kid because he was so cynical.
The Leadership Podcast is sponsored by W.S. Darley & Company.
Founded in 1908, Darley remains a family owned and operated business, providing the highest quality equipment solutions to our country’s warfighters and firefighters.
Learn more at darley.com and darleydefense.com
- “My brain and your brain run off an operating system called narrative. When that narrative gets broken, the wonder switch gets turned off.”
- “Neuroscientists have partnered with magicians to study how our brains process information based on our five senses; what we discover is humans are not that great at figuring out what is true.”
- “Seeing isn’t believing. Science supports the fact that believing is seeing. People misunderstand that concept.”
- “The human imagination doesn’t become less active as adults, we just change how we use it.”
- “Wonder gives people the permission to believe.”
- “It’s our job as leaders to give people permission to believe in what seems so impossible to believe in.”
- “All change in the transformation process is moving from an old story to a new story. It’s all rooted in narrative.“
- “We need leaders more than ever before to step up and give people permission to believe in the possibility of a new story.“
These are the books referenced in our episode with Harris
The Leadership Podcast is proud to announce a new initiative with thoughtLEADERS to provide very short podcasts called “chalk talks.” They’re “bitesize” hacks on common (but challenging) leadership issues. Interested in learning more?
You can only access the Chalk Talks by subscribing to our newsletter at The Leadership Podcast.
Beyond the Uniform offers over 300 free episodes to help military Veterans succeed in their civilian career. This includes overviews of potential career paths, deep dives on necessary skills to succeed, and reviews of other free services that support the military Veteran community. You can find more info at BeyondTheUniform.org.