Inside the Mind of a Magician
By Austin Hackney
We all spend a lot of time looking at our favourite magician's hands, props, lovely assistants, maybe reading the books he's written or studying the DVDs that he's released. No doubt there's a lot we can learn from all that, but do you know, there's one thing that isn't publicly available and yet it is the MOST important thing that beginner magicians (and, come to think of it, quite a few more experienced magicians, too!) need to learn. And it's this: what is going on inside a successful magician's mind?
Far more important than any specific trick or routine you might learn, it is the state of your mind - when you are learning and practicing and when you are actually performing, that will ultimately determine whether you succeed or fail. Really. Don't be fooled if anyone tells you otherwise.
So, what is going on inside the mind of a master magician?
The first quality of the master magician's mind is that s/he is single-minded. Now that doesn't have to mean that you never do anything but magic and become an annoying geek that no body wants to know - that would be no good at all! - but it does mean that you really focus and work hard on your magic; that you are enthusiastic and committed, that you set aside dedicated time for it and you work on it even when you are tired, blue or finding it very hard.
That's discipline, dedication and determination.
That's putting your magic first. Not all the time, not above your day job or your wife and kids, but fully and totally for the time that you dedicate each and everyday (even if it's just half and hour in the evening) for practicing your magic. No distractions, no excuses.
Singlemindedness. It's a big word and it's a big principle if you want to be good at anything that requires skill and learning to accomplish.
If this is making you want to run a mile: wait! relax! The easiest road to discipline, strangely, is the gentle road. It's not so much about making yourself do lots but about developing consistency and seeing things through. So, if you can only manage 10 minutes a day, that's fine; just make sure that's a full, undisturbed, totally concentrated 10 minutes. You'll be amazed how much you can achieve with consistency. And 'little and often' is a great way to build your mental muscles.
So, be excited about your magic, dedicate time everyday to learning how to perform magic tricks and perform them well and then - get to it! The second thing that is going on inside a successful magician's mind is self-knowledge. Now, I don't mean some kind of mystical thing: I mean that the magician knows the WHY of his desire and intention to perform magic.
The reasons why a magician wants to learn magic tricks and perform magic to others can be very varied: I have heard professionals who talk about everything from wanting to be thought of as 'mr. cool' to wanting understand and use psychology in interesting ways to making money to discrediting charlatans and 'psychics' to wanting to make people smile or open their minds...the list goes on. It doesn't really matter what your motive is and you don't ever have to tell anybody. It's your personal thing. But it does matter that YOU know what it is.
You have to know this because it is the fuel in your magic motivation machine. Visualise yourself succeeding at realising this vision. Knowing why you are doing something helps hugely in maintaining your focus and boosting your enthusiasm. So, inside the master magician's mind is a clear vision of WHY s/he wants to be a magician.
Well, I'll guarantee that there is a passion somewhere in there (and I don't mean for one of those beautiful assistants...). There is a passion for some particular aspect or type of magic. There is an intimate knowledge of a certain magic discipline.
You should know what it is that most draws you in magic; what kind of magic tricks you most enjoy to see. Is it coin magic? Is it card magic? Is it stage magic? Is it street magic? Is it mental magic? It doesn't matter what it is but you should capitalize on that passion, on that fascination. You should do this for three reasons: one is that you will then be sure that you are learning something that you love and again that passion will be further fuel in the engine of your magic motivator. Another is that your passion will be readily communicated to your audience and your pleasure in the magic you do will bring them in to that experience too. Thirdly, whilst you will want to be a versatile performer it is no bad thing to have a specialisation as that can be a reputation-builder and give you your very particular signature as a magician.
You should know your passion, you should feel it and it will communicate itself to others when you perform your magic tricks. And the final experience that the successful magician has inside his/her mind is the experience of supreme and perfect confidence. This is not the same as an ego-trip. You can be humble and confident at the same time. The confidence inside a master magician's mind is that of total security. But how does s/he gain this confidence?
For some this kind of confidence comes quite naturally, for others it has to be learned. Thinking of the kind of confidence that exists inside a successful magician's mind, there are some simple and surprisingly practical things that you can do to cultivate it.
One thing is to make sure that by way of your consistency, passion and discipline in your magic you are completely confident with the technical side of your magic tricks: that you have practiced and practiced and practiced until you can do every move, every sleight, every gesture perfectly, smoothly, naturally - without even thinking. If you no longer have to think about what you are doing you are then free to focus on how you are doing it, on your audience rather than yourself and that should help you grow your confidence very fast.
Another thing is to be humble. Humble here just means not taking yourself too seriously. Be prepared to laugh at yourself. Don't worry that things might go wrong (if you stop repeating that fear to yourself, there is much less chance that they will!). The mind of the master magician is not full of egotistical thoughts about himself - at least not while he is actually performing his magic - rather it is focussed entirely on the audience; who they are, how they are, building and sustaining that relationship, that rapport.
And finally, but by no means least important, is that the mind of the master magician is full of fun and delight: s/he is really enjoying creating magic and sharing it with others. So now you know what is going on in the mind of a master magician and you know some practical steps that you can take to cultivate that kind of mentality. If you go there, you will be a happier, more relaxed, well-liked and successful magician than you ever thought possible.
All the very best with your magic!
Austin is a performing magician, entertainer, theatre practioner and writer of many years standing, always keen to share his experience and encourage the novice. His website, www.magic-tricks.ws is a great free resource for magic tutorials, articles, visual guides, eBooks and more.
Austin specialises in coin tricks and manipulation. Having worked in 'the real world' all his life, he is gaining a reputation on the web. Austin has a passion for magic tricks and has always been keen to teach and support the novice.
He finds his website is proving an excellent medium for reaching out to aspiring magicians across the globe and offer them the best teaching not only in learning magic tricks but, importantly, learning how to perform them well. If you want to learn magic tricks well, go there now: www.magic-tricks.ws.