People used to ask me, “Who’s your hero?”
I used to think, and think, and think….
But I couldn’t think of anyone!
Recently, my son also had an assignment in one of his classes, to come up with a portrait and character sketch about one of his heroes. He chose himself!
I used to wonder why people made such a big deal about having heroes.
One of my best college friends had a notebook full of heroes. He cut out their pictures, listened to their speeches, read their books, and studied them. Years later, he’s become like them, and even surpassed those heroes’ accomplishments in some respects.
I’ve started to notice people I respect and admire. And I’ve started to read their material, listen to their podcasts, and take actions based on their life lessons.
My point with my story about my son, my college friend, and myself is that, although some of us may tire of hearing about famous people with autism we can also learn important lessons about work and relationships from them. Tim Ellis is one of them.
I’m going to share a bit about Tim Ellis’ background and life,and then give you 5 Life Lessons you can put to work in your own life.
Tim Ellis: A Biographical Sketch
Tim Ellis discovered magic when his grandfather gave him a magic set at age 9. He was the youngest magician ever admitted to the Magic Circle of Victoria, and two years later, he won four out of their five annual awards. In 1980, he was considered ‘Best Under 18 Magician of Australia.’
Here are some of Mr. Ellis’ accomplishments:
-In 1986, he created and produced a ten day festival of the magical arts, “National Magic Week”, which was presented annually for the next nine years.
-He produced and edited a national publication, Australian Magic Monthly, for magicians which cam out monthly for 100 issues, while he also wrote a regular column on the Australian magic scene.
-He created “Magic Sports”, a form of improvised magic games based on Keith Johnstone’s Theater Sports.
-In 1992, he bought Australia’s oldest magic shop, ‘Bernard’s’, which he owned for several years.
He has had many more awards and accomplishments.
Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster, another magician, were married from 1998 to 2011. They met at a magic convention. She admired his on-stage persona, and his careful attention to her during their months of 10 months of dating. Following their marriage, however, she discovered that he was “10,000 percent” focused on his magic, and limited in his ability to show her affection. (In all fairness, this is her report of her experience).
The stress she felt in the marriage led to extreme frustration, to the point that she had a nervous breakdown. After discussions with her doctor, and more information about Tim, it was discovered that he had a form of high functioning autism called Aspergers.
Tim learned more about Aspergers in years to come, penning the play and magic show called Aspycadabra, in which he explores his condition, with both positive and negative aspects of it.
5 Life Lessons from Time Ellis
1. Find the intersection between your passions, competencies, and market value.
This Venn Diagram describes how what you love, what you’re good at, and what people pay for go together to make for a viable career. Tim found out that he was passionate about magic, good at it, and was able to put himself in positions to earn a living from it.
2. Hone your skills.
Tim is a tireless. Magic is his obsessive interest, and he put the 10,000 hours in to master it. Talent is one thing – practice and discipline are another.
3. Build a taller skyscraper: Look for ways to increase value in your industry.
Neil Patel, from Quick Sprout, talks about examining the landscape of “what is” in your industry. Then, seek to build a taller scraper. In other words, seek to build something even better and more innovative than what currently exists.
Mr. Ellis started an industry journal, when there appear to have been few. He started a Magic Festival. He has written other articles about magic, and served as a judge for numerous festivals. He’s been on TV and judged magic contests.
4. Figure out whether you have Aspergers.
If you’re struggling in your marriage or other relationships, it may be that you have Aspergers. Aspergers creates social communication difficulties, at least between Aspies and non Aspies.
Take the Aspie Quiz or the online test for high functioning autism.
This is only the first step. If you score as possibly having autism, you’ll then want to find a specialist who disagnoses Aspergers.
Here are some articles from this blog about Autism Diagnosis.
5. If you do have Aspegers, make sure both you and your partner learn about the condition.
Tim was creative enough to produce a film about his condition. Unfortunately, his marriage did not stay intact. However, if both you and your partner commit to learning the intercultural aspects of relating and make the efforts to compromise, you can improve your marriage.
Journal of Best Practices – This book records a autistic man’s diligent efforts to become a better husband, after finding out about his diagnosis.
Loving Someone With Aspergers Syndrome – This book contains very practical exercises for both spouses to improve communication and their marriage.
Improve Your Social Skills – Dan Wendel, himself an Aspergian, designed this site to help people improve their social skills.
Men will enjoy reading about how to become a better spouse (whether they are on the autism spectrum or not), at The Art of Manliness.
Also, please enjoy my articles on Aspergers and Marriage.
Here’s more information about Tim Ellis –
Tim’s Personal Website – http://timellismagic.com/
Autism Support Network’s mention of Aspycadabra – http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/video-aspy-cadabra-tim-elliss-magic-autism-102112344
An interesting review of Aspycadabra, including some background on Tim Ellis and SueAnne Walker’s marriage – http://www.documentaryaustralia.com.au/films/details/1237/aspycadabra-mork-mindy-and-magic
What are your thoughts about Tim Ellis? Do you agree that we can learn from him? What other suggestions or tips do you have about work and marriage, as it pertains to Aspergers and high functioning autism?
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