At the bottom of this page, you will find a form to complete. I'm going to ask you to set a goal for your magic practice for the year ahead. If you complete the form, the team at the Merchant of Magic will try to provide you with free help and support to achieve your goal.
There is a common reason that many beginners lose interest in practicing to become a magician. They become disappointed in their progress, which makes them feel like a failure.
Through the tuition that my team provides at the magic shop, I noticed that the best way to push magicians past the ‘quitting point’, is to teach them about setting practice goals for their magic.
First, I want to explain why setting a goal is so important to your development as a magician. Let's start with a question:
Do you do it?
Do you set yourself defined goals for your development as a magician? Most people don’t plan the future, preferring to work on their existing material, and building up their magic knowledge over time in a random undirected fashion. Most magicians start training with a distant, undefined aim of becoming a skilled magician some time in the future. That’s fine if you simply want to dabble at magic training, but if you want to get the most out of your practice time, then setting a goal can be a very powerful aid to your development. A goal gives you an aim, and a direction of focus.
It is an expression of your WILL to make something you want really happen.
Goals provide direction. Without choosing a goal, you run the risk of never setting your sights on what you actually want from your magic practice. A goal is a conscious decision to make something YOU want happen. Without goals, it’s easy to work hard, yet end up making nothing happen at all. Lack of direction may lead you to be forever jumping from one unfinished magic trick to the next, endlessly failing to commit to true mastery of any magic skills until all you experience is a sense of disappointment, failure, and loss of interest in the practice.
The good news is that it is easy to avoid this situation. To avoid feeling like you are not making the progress you deserve, let's look at some easy steps for setting — and most importantly achieving your goals as a magician.
Just little steps at first.
I highly recommend that you start off with a small goal. Choosing something too big can make it seem impossible and unrealistic. Feeling that you have set an impossible goal for yourself can lead to you giving up way before you reach it. Even a journey of a thousands miles starts with just a single step. I know it’s tempting to say something like “I’m going to master sleight of hand with cards!” Just remember that a card expert is made one trick at a time. Instead, why not start with a smaller goal, like mastering the Elmsley count, or building a working three shells and a pea routine, and then add to it once you have achieved it?
Don’t over complicate the issue.
Be careful you don’t confuse the issue by only looking at the distant future. There are actually two main kinds of goals: short term and long term.
Long term goals are the bigger picture. It may be something that you want to achieve in a few years time. Long term goals can often be broken down into a series of short term goals that eventually complete the long term goal. The secret of success is to define a long term goal, then break it into a series of short term goals that will lead you to the long term win. That way, you don’t over complicate the path to achieving what you want. For example, a long term goal might be : Master sleight of hand with playing cards. That’s a very complex goal as it has so many parts needed to achieve it. Keep your magic practice simple, and take things in stages. "My first goal is to master a convincing double lift technique" As soon as that goal has been done, move on to the next short term goal: "I will learn to classic palm playing cards"
Choose a long term goal, and write it on a piece of paper. Now start listing the short term goals that are needed to complete the long term goal.
Pay attention to your own strengths as a magician, and face your limitations at the same time. If you are a very serious person, a long term goal of becoming a comedy magician, may not be realistic. You may find it much easier to be successful as a serious mentalist or card cheating expert. It’s great to dream, but be realistic in the dreams that you decide to put into practice. Understanding your own natural abilities, and finding goals that compliment them is an important part of the development process.
Don’t be a dog that chases parked cars.
Are you picking goals based upon what you want, or what other people think you should do? Make sure that the goal you decide to work towards is really what you want to make happen. I studied to become a Clinical Psychologist. Everyone told me I would be great at it. I went to university and began working towards that goal. It was only after several years training that I came to realize that it wasn’t MY choice of the future I wanted. I loved magic, and wanted that to be my life. I made the commitment to find work as a magician and build a magic business. By selecting my dreams — and not those of my friends and family — I achieved that goal, and feel so lucky to wake up each day to do something I love.
Remind yourself regularly.
Setting a goal is just the beginning. It’s easy to spend an evening making lists of your short term goals, then putting that list away forever. Once you have defined and set a goal, make sure that you find ways to remind yourself regularly about it. Carry a list of your short term goals in your wallet or bag, make it your screen saver, the home screen of your smartphone, even write it on your bedroom wall! Make sure you are reminded of your goal every single day. Some magicians write their goals on a playing card and keep that in their pocket wherever they go. Each evening and morning when they unload their pockets, they find the playing card and get reminded of their goals.
Keep the list moving.
Short term goals often come together to form a long term goal. Make a list of your goals, and group them together. Break your long term goals into achievable short term goals and place them in order that you can work on them to complete the larger objective. The long term goal may be to learn the cups and balls to a performance standard. The short term goals would be the individual steps needed to make that happen, including buying a cups and balls set, mastering loading and stealing, mastering the misdirection, perfecting an interesting presentation, developing the timing etc etc.
Make it happen when it needs to do so.
It doesn’t matter how many goals you set, where you write them down, or how often you think about them. Unless you pick ONE short term goal and start working on it, it’s all for nothing. Look at your list of goals and decide which is the most important to you. Remember that the longer a goal stays unactioned on your list, the more time it will take to achieve it.
Setting a goal is really about setting a deadline. Without a time limit, there is no motivation to work on the steps needed to achieve your goal.
Get Help by asking the right questions.
Nobody can do everything themselves. Find help from people that can move you closer to your goals. By defining each step as a goal, it becomes easy to know exactly which questions to get answered, or what form of help you need. I often get asked “Which magic trick should I learn next?” That question is not very useful because it has no goal attached to it. Asking “I want to be known as a mind reader, which trick should I work on next?” allows me to understand the goal behind the question, and the advice I give is much more valuable because it has a direction towards the goal behind it.
One year from now.
I maintain that taking the time to sit down and list your goals, is one of the most positive steps you can make to becoming a successful magician. It applies to all aspects of magic, from learning new tricks, right through to marketing your services. As you put this into practice, and see the result is having on your focus, and the speed of your progress, you will never look back!
Which magic goal would you like to set for your magic? What would you like to have achieved in magic one year from now?