New Years is coming up, and I hope all of your resolutions come true, especially those related to magic. Is your magic in a slump? Slow-going? Less interesting than it used to be? Boring, even?
In the spirit of New Year’s, I want to give you a simple, practical system for kicking your magic back into high gear. You can implement it immediately… In fact, that’s exactly what you HAVE to do!
I’d like to bring up a topic that’s often discussed within the context of business, and it’s considered by many to be the number one factor in success. In fact, I’ve found in my research that discussions of success and business often become linked, and ideas like SOI are lost to people looking to gain success in other areas of life… like magic.
Speed of implementation suggests that, when we get an idea, a piece of information, a skill, etc. we have to take it into the real world as soon as possible to learn and refine it from experience. This is particularly challenging in the “information age,” as the Internet provides endless resources at a click.
Specific to the magic world, we have new products coming out every week (burying the classics), many in the form of books, or worse, DVDs. Don’t get me wrong – I sell a book containing my own original magic, and I highly recommend it. There are plenty of products out there that will build any close-up magician’s repertoire into a masterpiece.
The downside of this is that many of us become TRAPPED in a magic-learning habit. Before we master one trick, we begin learning another. Before we learn another trick, we’re off to purchasing another. Before we purchase that trick, we’re off browsing in another shop. In the process, we unknowingly steal any of our time to practice, let alone to perform. We build up a wall that gets taller and taller the more we stare at it.
SOI is not intended to negate practice, or the process of building a skill through long-term commitment. Practice is essential to our success in any skill, especially with magic. But magicians stuck in this habit usually aren’t practicing as much as they think. More often, they simply stare at the material for years until they wake up one day and realize… they’re no longer magicians!
There is a fix to all this. In fact, by following through on this, you can immediately get yourself back on track from magic slump to magical success. There aren’t many “magic pills” out there, so to speak, but SOI is one such cure. Here's a plan that I suggest. If you feel like you’ve distanced yourself from magic, it’s time to get re-acquainted:
Find a new trick. It doesn't matter where it comes from. Maybe from a book you haven't read in a while, or through a gimmick you haven't used since you purchased it, or from a website that offers a trick for free. Commit to learning it by Sunday (a week from today). Then on Sunday, go out and perform it for at least 10 people.
Friends, family, strangers – ANYONE! Perform, perform, perform, and make no excuses. If you mess it up, figure out the mistake, learn from it, and move on. Keep performing beyond 10 people, until you feel like there is no one else to perform for. Do this just as an experiment, a challenge to yourself as a magician.
You may go home from this experience and realize that you need quite a bit more practice to make the trick work. But you knew that already. The lesson contained within this second is even more valuable. As the great Wayne Gretzky put it, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Realize that you get nowhere without implementing (that is, in this context, performing), and that the sooner you perform, the sooner you learn from the experience and fire up your success and enthusiasm as a magician.
This goes not only for tricks, but for all things magic… for all things in life, actually. Whether they are presentational skills, tips for working magicians, or performance subtleties, don’t trap yourself in the paralysis of analysis. Implement what you’ve learned immediately, and go from there.
You have to practice; that’s obvious. You’ve been told all your life you have to practice, and if you’ve ever come by a master magician, they will hound you to practice for as long as you know them. But remember that practice does not exist only in front of a mirror; and it does not exist AT ALL in the pages of a book. A great deal of practice exists in performance.
So go learn your trick and let me know how YOUR performance goes next Sunday. If all goes well, that's one resolution you can check off early on Sunday night (aka New Year's Eve).
Merry Christmas Eve!
-- Dan Skahen
Last edited by magicmandan on Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.