Michael Grandinetti is one of the world’s leading experts in the art of illusion. Over the past 20 years, his magic has been featured on NBC television specials, in sold-out baseball stadiums, at Heinz Hall with Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, at New York’s Grand Central Station, and at The White House. In addition, as the founder of Michael Grandinetti Magic, a custom illusion production company, Michael has designed and provided original effects for Fortune 500 companies and major corporations around the globe. Find Michael at his website or on Facebook.
Does “impossible” exist? This is a question that I challenge myself with on a daily basis. Since the age of five, my love for the art of magic and my passion for taking my life in unique and sometimes untraveled directions have allowed me to truly explore the concept of what is “impossible” and, I hope, push the boundaries of what is expected. Now, I’m not just talking about the visual impossibilities of my art form, such as walking through walls or floating in the air, but I’m talking about setting big goals, larger than you ever might think possible to achieve, and then going after them wholeheartedly and bringing them to life.Whenever I’ve been told that something is impossible, there’s always been something in me that makes me try even harder, that makes me want it even more. Where others may be discouraged, I am encouraged and compelled to push forward and I think this is a way of thinking that we all should try to embrace.
The very nature of my life’s passion, and now my business, have inspired and required me to think big. Growing up, I was always a kid with an active imagination and I don’t think that has ever gone away. For me, magic is the perfect metaphor for transforming the seemingly impossible into reality, not just on stage, but all throughout life. Because I started studying magic so early, my impressionable younger years were filled with the thoughts of possibilities, rather than limits. Looking back at that time with the perspective of age, I now realize that this mindset made all the difference.
To this day, I truly enjoy the process of thinking outside the box and coming up with directions that are different, no matter how large they are or how difficult they may seem. At the start and the end of every day, I challenge myself to create at least one new project or idea, unlike anything that I’ve done before, that will help to further my overall goals. Each idea must be something that seems truly impossible. But it doesn’t end there. The next part of the exercise is to figure out a way to make the project a reality.
This is not just an exercise for the imagination, however. Over the years, this practice has had physical results, bringing to life projects ranging from escaping from confinement between walls of flaming steel spikes on NBC’s “The World’s Most Dangerous Magic”, to performing at The White House for Easter, to shows in sold-out baseball stadiums, with illusions including levitating 15ft above the pitcher’s mound and reading the minds of all 40,000 people in each stadium at the same time. Our stadium projects were especially challenging because we had to create large scale, original illusions that could be performed outdoors, on a wide open field, while surrounded by people and bright lights in all directions. But, as we all should do, when the idea first entered my mind, I refused to let any doubt come along for the ride.
I think the most important thing I’ve learned on my journey over the past 20 years is that the biggest limitation that people face is their own willingness to accept the word impossible as a fact, rather than just a “rumor”. I’ve lost count of the many times I’ve been told that something couldn’t be done. But what I’ve proven to myself over and over again is that if you really want something, you need to envision it as if you already have it, see it as a definite reality, not even as a maybe.
Then you have to be tenacious and persevere. A famous actor in Hollywood once told me that when going after your goals, you need to be like one of those inflatable punching bags that we all had as kids, the ones that were weighted at the bottom so that no matter how hard you hit it, it would just keep popping back up. We all need to keep popping back up until each and every one of our goals is achieved.
Does “impossible” exist? I think the choice is up to us. One of my favorite sayings is “don’t know what you can’t do”. It’s packs a big punch when you really think about it. However, the extreme power of that simple message is certainly no illusion.