Dan writes: 'My biggest problem is committing to my magic practice. Why is it so hard for me to practice as often as I feel I should?'
Distractions are all too common in the modern world with so many things around us designed to do just that, distract. Magazines, television and the internet are all capable of drawing you in and zapping your focus in a heartbeat. Losing your concentration when trying to get anything done is never a good thing, but when it comes to magic practice loss of focus can be enough to make you want to give up altogether.
Tyranny of the New.
It is for this reason that I thought this post topic would be especially relevant to magicians as we constantly feel the need to learn new tricks and techniques to stay up to date. However, it can be this desire to stay at the forefront of what is happening in the world of magic that can be the biggest distraction from your magic practice. We’ve no doubt all experienced the feeling of excitement when a new trick is brought to our attention, we can’t wait to try it out and we drop everything to do so. This is fine if you are looking for something new, but what if you are in the middle of magic practice on another technique or trick? You’ve dropped something before you have mastered it. Often, by the time that you resume your practice on that particular skill it is almost like you have never even looked at it before, such is the power of distraction.
So, with this in mind, what can we do to minimise these distractions and help us to get some quality, focused magic practise done? Let’s take a look at a few pointers:
Make a decision (and stick to it) – Choose just one or two things to be the centre of your magic practice at any one time. These can be either new magic tricks, techniques or a mixture of both. The important thing is to stick with your chosen task and resist the urge to move onto something new before you have completely mastered them. Turn the psychology on its head and use it to your advantage. If there is something new and exciting that you are itching to work on, use that as an incentive. Tell yourself that the sooner you get to grips with ‘A’ the quicker you can move on to ‘B’.
Have a goal – Setting yourself a deadline can also be a great way to incentivise your task. However, it is important that you are not overly hard on yourself if you don’t meet the deadline, providing you have put sufficient work in. Sometimes it can be difficult to judge just how long it will take to learn a new trick.
Be consistent – Choosing a time and a place where you know that distractions will be kept at a minimum builds a routine that will allow you to focus a lot better. Setting this up will help others can get used to the idea as well. If your family know that you are going to be using a certain room, at a certain time, on a regular basis it will be far less likely that you will incur accidental disturbances.
Meditate – Maintaining focus is very much a state of mind and something that can improve with time. Practising meditation can help with focus as can other relaxation techniques. Of course, this is something that is going to differ within each of us, but it proves that with practice the mind can be retrained to concentrate better and work in a more productive fashion.
By using the tips above you will find that your magic practice sessions will soon become far more fruitful, which means that you will learn more in a shorter space of time. Now, who doesn’t want that?