This is a question that I've been thinking about a lot over the past few weeks, over building up my website and performing every single day. I feel like it's a question to which we all know the answer, but in the flood of new releases, finger-burning practice sessions, and posting here, I also think it's an answer from which we can distance ourselves over time.
Most people start in magic with a spark of passion that starts a fire in their life, spreading throughout all of their performances. At that stage in the game, whether it's a few days, a few months, or (for the luckiest among us) a few years, the answer to the stated question is absolutely certain and unwavering. In some ways, for this reason, the beginners in magic are often the BEST performers.
I have a theory, and it goes like this: The more connected you are with the answer, the more you move towards that answer in every performance. The more detached you are, the more your performances drift, lose their spice, and then their taste, until they're finally absent of any passion at all. I've been there, and maybe you have too.
The tricks that you once drooled over seem ridiculous, or at best, boring. The idea of performing for someone can actually feel LESS appealing than the thought of posting about performance. It's a weird and uncomfortable feeling, a mini-existential-crisis of the magician.
So I propose this question as the answer to this problem (which may only be my problem; in which case, my bad), and I've found that the more I concentrate on it, the better I do with spectators. All fear of the approach falls away, all lukewarm passion heats to a sizzle, and all boredom flips to excitement in one moment... the moment you have the answer.
As I've been working hard over the past year trying to build a business, my own skahenmagic.com, I've done a lot of research ABOUT business as well. And I've found that the ideas useful to successful business often transmutates easily for successful magic. Consider the idea of a mission statement...
The best businesses in the world (from the most successful small businesses in your town to the international phenomenons like Apple), have a very concrete mission statement. For example, the mission of Skahen Magic is:
"To make this site common ground for all magicians to learn from each other's unique knowledge, experience, ideas & inovations, and to share with you some of the best ideas I've ever come across."
A mission statement should be specific, smiple, and quanitifiable. The better it is, the better your chances are of achieving it. The answer to the question in subject is YOUR mission statement as a magician. And the better you can define it, the better you can achieve it.
You can literally achieve ANYTHING you want to as a magician, but the very first step in this process is to KNOW exactly what you want. If you don't know where you're going, how will you know how to get there?
So I present this question to you, yea YOU... no, no, stop looking around... I'm talking to YOU dude. What kind of magician do you want to be?
And I'd like everyone to post their own answer as a reply. That way, it won't escape you or become twisted in your mind as a mere thought. You may find that simply thinking about this and writing down the answer will recharge your energy and passion for magic. You'll find that as soon as you perform with this answer in the foreground of your mind, reactions will blow up in your face.
If not for yourself, write an answer to inspire others to go out and perform with HEART, with an authentic and unclouded love for magic. I'll start with my answer as the first reply. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing what everyone here is REALLY here for.
Merry Christmas Eve!
-- Dan Skahen