The Power of Magic

Samir Mardolker explains the concept of magic and finding it in our everyday lives

In a Netflix Bollywood blockbuster called ‘Ludo’, the protagonist explains his die hard ‘giving’ attitude to his x-lover as not stemming from any hope that she will come back to him. In fact, he has no idea why he feels like doing everything he can for her despite being outright rejected in love. He concludes saying “In love and relationships, there is no logic; only magic.”
In his book Alchemy, Rory Sutherland (of O&M) glorifies magic over logic. He says logic can’t solve all the problems. Yet, all those in power who need convincing regarding a proposed solution can be mostly convinced only with logic. Occasionally, you will have a weirdo who will defy logic and then we see true ah-ha solutions emerge. For instance, sales rising after an increase in price or the success of Red Bull; consumers thrashed it in early product research by very logically saying that it was not even worth drinking if paid to drink, given its intense taste. Yet, it defied all logic and is a very strong brand today. Magic thinking does not happen all of a sudden. It’s always there in abundance in our childhood but magic gets eroded slowly as the logical world chips away what it deems has no logic. I recall my 5 year old daughter trying to solve jigsaw puzzles and picking up odd shapes to fit into places she should have known will not fit. For instance, picking a square to fit into what clearly looked like a circle. I noticed the teacher being frustrated and trying to explain to her that she should pick the circular shaped pieces and not the square ones. In my mind she was literally getting my child to unlearn what would later be called ‘creativity’ in figuring out how to make a square fit into a circle. Sadly, even learning for that matter, in our opinion, has to be logical. In my example, the teacher never entertained the idea that my daughter may be focussed on learning about squares in terms of what shapes they fit in better versus trying to solve the jig saw puzzle and focus on the circle. Logic would have said the circle should be the focus. Magic is what you want it to be! Whatever that is!
You can perhaps only find logic in the magic retrospectively and not in-the- moment. If you have lost the magic in your childhood to teachers and discipline, don’t lose hope. Taking a keen interest in art could help stroke the magic back again. Learn art by yourself though. Do not go to an art school or another teacher. For instance, paint something and tell yourself the story of how good the painting is. See the magic in the colors and your own strokes. Another way is to surround yourself with people who love you no matter what. It is in the company of such people that you can be very silly and still feel very safe. Being silly is fundamental to stroking the magic back into your life. Finally, if you want to find more ways to rekindle the magic don’t try to logically think of what to do. Just stop thinking. Magic happens in doing and redoing – some logical thinkers may call this rapid prototyping. To me it’s just mastering the art of being silly and ‘mindless’

There are some obvious road blocks to magic: Routines, time pressure/deadlines (more so when they are imposed by others than self-imposed), stress (again if imposed) etc. Things that encourage magic are silliness, obsession, passion, adventure and a slight disregard for the solution versus a focus on the journey.
Large organisations struggle with delivering magic as they embody routines, discipline, impose stress and deadlines and judge everything that is not logical. If they at all wish to create magic, they create special teams for the same e.g. innovation team. But the very focus on making magic can result in lowering chances that the teams will do so. They do not understand that magic happens when you least expect it, when you have the courage to be silly just because you feel like it and not because you are working to an outcome. To believe that silliness needs to be encouraged for the purpose of creating magic is too logical to start with! Ok, now if you can’t make any logical sense of how to create magic just find someone to love. Being madly in love releases all the right chemicals in the head to let your silliness show; so long as your partner will let you be and not call out your silliness but just simply enjoy your love.
PS: At Clear M&C Saatchi (, we call magic ‘brutal simplicity of thought’. It is our relentless pursuit to look for things that are just too simple and therefore almost always go unnoticed. When we find them, our clients realise (via logic) how magical the solutions they inspire are.

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