As I write this, Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer) is about to announce new products. Today they are a focal point of the technology world. But it has not always been so.
About 15 years ago I had left my job. The new job I was promised before I moved across the country fell through. I spent time living off the kindness of friends and eventually had to move back in with my parents.
I was out of money.
At that time the price of Apple stock had fallen, as I recall, to about $12 per share. I was urging everyone I knew (and who had money) to buy Apple stock. The reason for my urging was that I believed only two things could happen. First, the stock would go up in value, in which case any one who purchased the stock would make money. Second (and what I considered to be more likely), the price would fall a bit more. At a lower stock price the value of the stock would be less than the value of the buildings and property Apple owned. Some company (I was hoping Sun) would buy up Apple by paying more per share than the current price of the stock. In either case, people would make money.
Nobody listened to me.
Since that time, Sun was purchased by Oracle and Apple stock split and is currently over $250 per share. To put this in perspective, if you had purchased 100 shares at $12 per share, your $1,200 investment would today be worth more than $50,000. The total value of the stock today makes Apple the most highly valued technology company in the world. Whether or not you like Apple products, looking at why Apple went from near collapse to incredible success should be of interest to all practitioners of magick.
APPLE: When Apple was about to fail, they were flailing around with a total lack of focus. They were producing a wide variety of computers with overlapping abilities, confusing consumers. Part of Apple’s move to success was to add extreme focus to their product line. They stopped making so many models with confusing abilities and clearly differentiated each product from the others.
MAGICKAL GUIDANCE: The more specific and precise you are when planning each magickal spell or ritual, the more successful you will be.
- “I want more happiness,” isn’t very specific.
- “I want more success and recognition in my job,” is better, but still lacking.
- “I want to use all of my abilities to create more success and recognition for my contributions to my job within four months from today,” is even better.
Take some time designing your ritual or spell and make your magickal goal as specific as possible.
Reinventing the Wheel
APPLE: Initially, Apple had an “if we didn’t make it then it’s no good” attitude. Apple spent hundreds of thousands of worker-hours creating things that others had already made. Sure it was unique, but as a result, people who made programs for Apple computer had to spend an enormous amount of time learning different computer languages to work only with Apple computers. But trying to work with unique styles of hardware and software kept people away. Apple moved to adopting one of the best OS systems available (known as UNIX), purchased and rebranded some of the best software programs, created their own software that could read and write to software on other computers.
Instead of focusing on creating things that had already been createdâ€””reinventing the wheel”â€”Apple adopted what was good and adapted it to fit their vision.
MAGICKAL GUIDANCE: The reason various forms of magick, spells, and rituals are called “traditional” is because they work. Many magicians spend hours, days, weeks or longer trying to reinvent rituals. I suggest that you focus on what you know works and perfect it for yourself. Some magicians become as bogged down in dogma and more focused on new designs of rituals than on magickal success.
Elegance and Beauty
APPLE: At the beginning of this cycles, Apple, like virtually all other computer manufacturers, was churning out ugly, putty-colored boxes. Apple began the movement toward beauty and elegance of design. This focus (both seen and unseen by consumers) revolutionized the industry. Some other companies try to make money by simply copying the appearance of the hardware and software that Apple offers.
MAGICKAL GUIDANCE: Make your ritual space, whether outside or inside, beautiful. Clean it up before starting. Make your magickal tools as beautiful and elegant as possible. Appearance has an effect on the magickal practitioner. When things look beautiful it improves your mood and a good mood enhances the potential for magickal success.
Creativity and Invention
APPLE: Instead of merely copying what everyone else was doing, Apple took other ideas and made them better. There had been MP3 players and “smart” phones for years. Apple took the standards and creatively reinterpreted them and presented them. That creativity sparked invention. Today, Apple virtually owns the MP3 music player industry and other companies’ smart phones are mostly variations on what Apple created.
MAGICKAL GUIDANCE: Earlier I talked about not reinventing the wheel. This, however, does not mean that there is not room for creativity and invention. Rather, I’m saying it’s a waste of time to reinvent what already works. Instead, use what works as a springboard for your own creativity and invention. Be original in those parts of rituals and spells where there is space for invention and creativity.
This post is not meant to be an Apple “fanboi’s” dream. Some of you may like Apple products, others don’t care, and sill others reading this don’t like Apple’s products at all. This is not about Apple products. Rather, it’s been about how a corporation became successful and how their model applies to magick.
Focus. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Make your tools, objects, and magickal workspace beautiful and elegant. Show creativity and invention in your magickal work.