May 05, 2011

“Lock Picking” as Told by Avani Mehta

Here's a great story from my book about Harry Houdini. 

Without a doubt, Harry Houdini is the most famous escape artist in the history of magic. I’m not sure if the story I’m about to share with you is well known, but it surely is fascinating. Houdini was very confident in his talents. He claimed that he could escape from any jail cell in the world in less than an hour, provided he could go into the cell dressed in street clothes.
And every time he was given this challenge, he accepted and did just as he promised in a few short minutes. 

One time, however, things didn’t go as Houdini planned. A small town in the British Isles built a new jail cell, of which they were very proud. “Come give us a try,” they said to Houdini, and he agreed. He walked into the prison cell bristling with confidence. After all, he had done this hundreds of times before. Inside his belt, Houdini had hidden a special lock pick, which he had designed.

Once the jail cell was closed, he took off his coat, and set to work with his special pick. But this time he discovered that something was unusual about this particular lock.

For thirty minutes, he worked and got nowhere. And his confident expression disappeared. An hour passed, and still he had not been able to open the door. By now, he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick open the lock.
He tried all the tricks of his trade, everything in his arsenal, but nothing worked. After two hours and totally exhausted, Houdini literally collapsed against the door. Surprisingly, the door swung open. Houdini discovered that it wasn’t locked in the first place! He had never bothered to check. It was locked only to him in his mind.
The lesson: Never assume anything. Everything is possible.