Obelisk In Action

Wednesday Live Spellbound by Rubens Filho

For this special Wednesday Live event, The Attic and guests were joined by Rubens Filho. An ex-lawyer, company owner and Director of Spells at Abracademy, he wowed us with not only some truly spectacular magic, but some unlikely similarities between magic and the world of business.

His personal story sheds light on how it is never too late to change path, and the importance of getting creative. Armed with some simple equipment, including a 3D printed wand and deck of cards, Rubens set out last night to inject some amazing magic into The Attic and into our lives.

Rubens comes from a family of successful lawyers in Brazil. After a career change which took him from working as a lawyer at a large Manhattan law firm to the creative world of advertising, it was his lifelong passion for magic, learned on the outskirts of São Paulo as a teenager studying law, that led Rubens to launch Abracademy, a venture that grew out of his consultancy business MeetRobots in 2015.

Abracademy is a London-based magic school “with the greatest purpose in the world: to make you a magician”. The school empowers and inspires children to “become extraordinary” through the medium of magic. Something, indeed, we can all learn from. 

Magic should be inclusive, not exclusive

One of Rubens’ goals for practicing magic is to make this sense of creativity applicable to all facets of life, for everyone, including the changing dynamics within the world of business and innovation. Things that would appear inconceivable even thirty years ago are now becoming real and evolving at a phenomenal pace. There is magic everywhere – from biotechnology, to 3D printing, to Google. This is what Rubens calls “big magic”.

Applying magic to business begins with a process, which, as Rubens explains, starts with becoming more conscious of ourselves, and more mindful. As we master this process “our consciousness can meet reality”. And by meeting reality, we can embrace choice.

Obelisk’s Jeremy Hopkins makes another intelligent choice 

Choice helps us connect with passion

Professor Melissa Cardon said: “Passion is a positive feeling that you experience for something that is profoundly meaningful to you as an individual.”

“What is your passion?”, Rubens ask us. It is something that needs to be nurtured and kept close to us. It is what makes a difference at work and in our daily lives. When this passion – this chosen reality that we are passionate about – is touched by magic, it will always reappear.

With a thrilling card trick, which Rubens performs flawlessly, we are reminded that the cards that represent our passions always resurface amongst the deck. So, with passion comes belief and conviction.

Show me the money. Rubens entralls the Wedsnesday Live audience

Rubens’ next trick highlighted the importance of conviction and belief in our passion and commitments 

“Do you think I can move this coin in my left hand, across my body and into my right hand?”

With baited breath, and a conviction he would reveal his secret, Rubens miraculously did just that, which was met with delighted applause and mutters of astonishment around the Attic.

The lesson learnt? When we are passionate about something, we are able to move from individual thinking to collective conviction. This collective purpose is the magic behind progress and success; the magic behind our convictions and our experiences. This magic in turn is what drives change, innovation and success in business. 

It was clear from the atmosphere in the Attic on Wednesday evening that the power of passion is contagious – giving people both belief and conviction, which makes people come together for a collective purpose. 

The magic secret is to find a purpose

The move from individual thinking to a collective drive brings meaning and determination to a business. Magic is the same – it breeds creativity, that ‘sparks’ change in people’s businesses, opening up people’s minds and spurring positive change. What Rubens finds really fascinating, he tells us, is spending time with people and letting them think freely: “When they don’t obey the rules – that’s what’s really inspiring”.

Rubens’ long history of lawyers in his family has given him first-hand experience of how creativity and magic can be incorporated into the world of law, or business, or whatever one is passionate about. At The Attic we spoke of how creativity can be integrated in whatever sphere of life – creativity in how you tackle problems, and how the story is brought together. This creativity can shed new light and new perspectives on a situation, bringing about successful and innovative transformations.

The thread of life

Rubens last trick of the night was to hold out a long piece of string – an analogy for the journey in our lifetimes. From birth, he explains, we imagine the perfect life – one long whirl of success, happiness, positivity and celebration. Soon enough, though, we are faced with obstacles and challenges. We may be bullied, or face rejection, frustrations and loneliness. These experiences snap the string of life, making us realise that we can be vulnerable. “There it goes”, Ruben says, as our neat piece of string becomes a tangled ball. So how do we put the thread back together?

Rubens begins to perform something seemingly impossible. With the room enthralled, he explains: 

“As we look at all these things, and try to make sense of this big mess we call life, we ask questions. We try different approaches. We dream about something different; something new. Life is not what people throw at us; life is what we make out of it.”

Miraculously, before our very eyes, Rubens has fixed the thread of life. He reveals a perfectly formed piece of string in his hands, followed by loud applause and laughter, reminding us all that there is magic in the world.

By Chloe

Chloe is the Content Co-ordinator on the First 100 Years project, powered by Obelisk Support. An undergraduate student at UCL, Chloe is in her third year reading anthropology. Her key focus on gender inequality has led her to concentrate on human rights, with her dissertation exploring the socio-political and economic invisibility that LGBTQ women face in London’s public spaces.