Allow me to play the Devil's Advocate for a moment. This is not necessarily what I believe, but in advocate fashion the opinion should be represented in an effort for greater truth.
Perhaps if you have self doubt, it means you should not be performing. It is a helpful fear that keeps you from doing something stupid, like that sleight when it isn't ready, or that joke when you really don't have the delivery for it. I have come across several acts, presentations and effects over the years and sometimes I would add something from those acts in, because it worked so well for the performer I saw. However, there was this little voice in my head that said "This really does not suit you, it will not match up with the rest of your act". Sometimes, that voice would keep me from performing a new trick I had recently learned even though I was in the moment and wanted to perform it so bad. But I would have failed.
But sometimes you have to just grow a pair...
You have get out there and perform. Doing it five million times in your room does not mean you wont shake like a dave matthews band monkey when you are in front of someone else doing it. It is like with music, when the band practices on there own, that does not mean that they can perform it live without at least a few times together. You have to add all the elements, before you can be comfortable in those elements. Self doubt and fear is a good thing, too an extent, but when your fears become phobias and start interrupting with your life then you have got a problem. I have a fear of spiders, but I dont just sit in my room all day. No. I go outside, hike in the woods, sit on the grass do whatever, despite the fact that black widows and brown recluse are heavily populated in my area. You should not let your fears overcome you, because then you are nothing but skill sitting in a room, like firewood sitting in a pile which will never be burned.
Balance in all things, have your fear, but have your fun. Using both equally you will find a beautiful medium through which you and all the people you amaze with whatever talent you have will share wonderful moments of life that everyone will remember."And the Lord asked 'Hast thou considered my servant Faust?'"
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i want to touch on a small part of this big question. With ALOT of the members in this magic community. they are still in middle school or high school. I think that causes a lot of pressure on them. Many of these younger magicians started doing magic in school, and are still in school, even after 3 or 4 years. This doesnt help them when it comes to perfecting a trick. They will practice the biddle trick, perform it to a few of their friends (poorly to say the least) then get rated on it then and there. after that they will make a judgement of themselfs and decide if they are worthy to go on. They do the trick correctly, then they learn a new one, they perform poorly, they forget it and move on. Its much like a class, you need cornerstone knowledge to continue. if you dont get the basics down, you wont succeed.
Another problem with school magic is that sense your friends have seen you perform sense day one, they will also learn with you. so you show them a new trick, they'll be like, Oh you just did a DL or a pass. THis will discourage the performer. They will think they are no good, they dont get reactions like the movies on T11 or on TV.
Another problem is that you show a "popular" crowd a trick. It goes a few ways. Either they blow up and think you are awesome, see what happened and think you suck, or they have mixed feelings.
If they like your magic, then they might tell their friends and make you seem better than you are. so the friend will want to see magic, but they may be dissipointed.
If they think you suck. they may tell their friends you suck, and your rep will travel around the school. Or they wont say anything till they see you doing a trick again, then say something.
If they have mixed reactions, it all depends on the "leader" of the group to make the desicion.
so you see how that goes.
School is a complex place, where magic is alright in certian aspects, but can also be very discouraging.
To get better, you have to leave the school grounds, adventure to unknown turf, and perform there, to people who have never seen magic, or at least seen your magic.
Go to a park, or a crowded mall, or just somewhere everyone is chilling out ( like a coffee place) and perform to as many people as you can. Just ONE trick. if your biddle is somewhat choppy, do that. After 20 performances, you'll improve THAT much. practice makes perfect, and what better way to practice then right in the battlefield where people are taking shots at you.
Also, DONT worry about school. it'll be over, and you'll be glad that when you get to college (hopefully everyone can go) then you'll be more seasoned for the people that really matter. friends, college profs, TAs, RAs, presidents of the school. random parents, and basically whom ever else you meet. and you'll also be old enough to get a job and work on your magic even MORE."And All Will Be Consumed" buy it here! http://papercranemagic.com/consumed.htm
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but dont take my word for it
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MemberIt is undoubtedly something we've all come across at some point in our magic journey - self doubt. "Am I any good? Surely, there are many who are better in technique and performance than myself. I don't have that much talent."
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- Raleigh, NC
To expand, why even perform magic? Are there people who are just not cut out to be magicians, despite hours and hours of dedication and practice? If so, how would you even be able to judge such a thing? How can we overcome self doubt?
"They're more prepared, have been playing longer, are undoubtedly in better shape, have better skills, and you know what? You all are going to beat them tonight." -Coach T.
After losing the first 5 or so games that season our morale was pretty low. Even when you know it's your first year and these guys have been playing for at least 2 or 3, it still gets to you. Seeing someone who is head and shoulders above you in skill can intimidate, demoralize, and even scare you, in both sports and in magic.
You practice and practice and watch self-recordings and think 'hey, I'm getting pretty good at this cups'n'balls thing' and two minutes later on youtube see Michael Ammar perform his routine and just think of how Bad you are at yours.
On top of that you have to compete with magicians that other people have seen, David Blaine, Criss Angel, Copperfield (to name a few.). These thoughts are not good thoughts. Try, try again...fall flat on your face, brush the dirt off and still can't get it right.
It's moments like those that make you want to quit what you're doing. There is no profit, people are heckling and making fun of you, there are so many other performers who are better, and you just know you won't make it.
Want my advice?
Go perform a self-working miracle to some people at a coffee shop. Do something amazing...ly simple. Self-esteem is easy to build up. Perform a key-card effect or the glide and build it up into something impossible. Take the praise and let it feel good.
The down side, praise will go to your head. Ego's destroy successful people. It's easier to destroy rather than to build up. Magic is a cruel mother...well you get the point.
The difference is attitude. Positive feedback brings you confidence and a positive attitude towards magic. Negative, unconstructive, criticism leads you to doubt and sometimes you get angry or hate the art.
In essence:Your mind is your most powerful tool. Thinking positive thoughts will help you to act positive. Thinking negative thoughts will only bring you down further. The world is exactly what you make of it, whether good or bad, and every situation for that matter.
I hope that all binds together, as it's almost 1 am.
Oh! We lost that game, but we did score the first goals of Northern Durham High Schools JV Lacrosse team that night. (:
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
I see self doubt as a good thing. It's part of the life cycle of every performer.
Self doubt can best be summed up as 'taking stock of your performance'.
When you have doubt you usually break yourself down to your most basic self through analysis. This is a good thing. From this you learn what the root of your doubt is. Once you know that you can conquer it and begin the rebuilding process. Only this time you have one extra 'lesson learned' on your side. Thus you will be better the next go around.
The biggest thing is, that you have to understand what caused the doubt in the first place. If you can't do that, you can never rebuild.
I think that it doesn't really matter if you think you are awesome or awful, as long as you know you can get better. There's no level cap to this. The best get better the same way the worst do.
Sure, someone else is better than you, but you aren't in competition with them. The goal is to have fun and to cause others to have fun.
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
July 2009 No Doubt About It
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Humans naturally look at the negative standpoint of things. What ever the "other person has that I don't", or "what I can't do as opposed to what I can." Being able to get past those thoughts, is what separates magic from more than just a hobby.
You have to push yourself past "what good I am now" to "how good will I become." Everyone has or will feel doubt of their abillity, but it will be the confident and dedicated one that will arise successful. Never give up.
When you doubt the path you trod thus far,
When the hand you held is lost to you,
Gaze anew at the heart...for all answers are within.