Life Lessons A Close Up Magician Has Learned from Magic
Upon a recent reflection of where magic has got me in life, I’ve come to realise that it is an excellent metaphor from which many parallels for one’s life can be drawn.
Here are a few important lessons learning and performing magic has solidified for me:
1) Failure is Good
The word ‘failure’ gets a bad reputation, and for good reason – nobody likes to fail.
It can be a frustrating, demotivating, and downright upsetting thing to happen.
In the years it took me to hone my craft, I’ve failed hundreds of times.
It’s the reason I didn’t actually start learning until I was 20.
Contrary to popular belief, however, this has been of great benefit.
When you are willing to attempt something so many times that you have failed countless times, can you truly begin to master a skill.
The reason I perform the tricks I do so seamlessly is because I performed them badly for a long time before that.
Once you’ve done something incorrectly over and over again in the effort to master it, you’ll be miles ahead of those who gave up after the first try.
2) Passion Gives Life Meaning
For most of my life, I had no interest in becoming a magician.
I had always thought magic was interesting, but I had neither the drive nor the ambition to even attempt it.
However, one (drunk) night at university, I showed a friend a card trick I had seen on YouTube many months ago. As soon as I experienced absolutely baffling them, the feeling it gave me never went away, and I dove right into learning everything I could about the art.
You might not know you have a passion. I certainly didn’t before that night. But once you find it, you’ll know. And it will, as if by magic, illuminate a path in front of you for your life.
Try lots of different things; you never know when your life’s passion will surface.
3) Risk is Necessary
I’m not about to tell you to go and jump off a building to see if you’ll fly.
What I mean by this is that it is necessary to try a variety of things that may well make you feel uncomfortable at first.
If you don’t at least give it a go, though, it’s likely that you’ll look back at this time in your life and regret that you never attempted it.
This acutely demonstrated itself when I first began approaching people to show them a trick. It was absolutely terrifying.
I’ve always been an introvert and was never the life or soul of any party. I’d leave starting conversations to the more outgoing types while I hung around the edges.
Interrupting the conversation of a large group of strangers was the absolute opposite of what I wanted to do.
But I also knew that the only way I was going to become someone who could successfully entertain with magic was to practise walking up people and saying ‘Hi! My name’s Marco. Would you like to see a magic trick?’
If this doesn’t sound that bad, try it – it’s scarier than you might think.
After forcing myself to do this hundreds of times, and risking abject social embarrassment (at least that was the way I saw it), the risk paid off: I finally became more confident with it.
Believe me, it would have been far more comfortable never trying this in the first place.
But comfort is like a siren song – it tempts you towards the danger of never pushing yourself to a level above the one you’re already at. And when you don’t push yourself or take risks in life, then you will never progress.
4) You Can Do It
What’s the main reason we don’t try most things in life that we’d actually like to?
We’re worried we’ll fail, and that the time we spent will have been a waste.
If you follow life lesson number 1) by practising something enough so that you’re competent at it, you prove to yourself that you actually are capable of achieving a goal you previously thought was unattainable.
Once you’ve made this discovery, you realise that there is nothing you cannot do if you really put your mind to it and put the hours in.
This is a powerful realisation that spills into other areas of your life.
Next time you catch yourself thinking, ‘I’d never be able to do that’, ask yourself, ‘Why not?’
5) There’s No Feeling Like Making a Difference
I used to work in an office as an administrator. I knew exactly what tasks I had to carry out, and how I was benefiting the company.
And yet, I didn’t feel fulfilled, because I never got to see any of the results first-hand.
As a result, I didn’t feel like I was contributing to anything meaningful.
Performing magic for someone is the most raw and unmediated way of impacting their life.
I see their expression change from intrigue, to awestruck, to delight, all in the space of a few minutes as a direct result of my interaction with them.
Magic has the power to change people’s lives.
Even if it doesn’t last for very long (although I’ve been told by people years after I’ve performed for them that they still remember a trick I showed them), in that moment, they forget their problems and worries and simply experience pure joy and wonder, as if they were a child again.
Witnessing something have the ability to do directly and positively change somebody’s emotional state goes a long way in giving your life more purpose.
I’ll Stick with 5
I could list more valuable lessons that learning and performing magic has taught me, but my fingers are getting tired.
Suffice it to say, magic has provided me with many of my personal life philosophies, and continues to shape how I live it for the better.