Managing Negativity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MohanaMisra, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. This is mostly for the professional magicians here.

    Performing magic (or even working in the ''other rooms of magic") is largely a creative field. Which means that it comes with its own share of difficulties. Which also means that it naturally seems more ''not practical'' compared to jobs closely linked with academics or what is socially accepted.

    Those who managed to transform into professional magicians and actually support their life purely by doing things related to magic, were there negative or discouraging opinions thrown at you?

    If yes, what were they generally? How did you combat them and are where you are today? Which opinions did you compromise with? Were there times even people you hoped would side with you tried to discourage you so that you do something 'safer' (nothing wrong with that)? How did you make your way through that?

    Please do reply, for I do think that while everybody needs reality checks and people pushing them to a more secure path, everybody also needs a nudge to see if they can make their own path.

  2. I'm not a professional magician. I am a parent. So take this advice from that perspective.

    Pursuing magic and pursing academic learning are not mutually exclusive. You can do both at the same time. In fact, there probably is overlap in most fields of study with magic -- engineering and the production of gimmicks, devices (see Eoin O'Hare) and illusions; psychology and perception (see Peter Lamont); being a lawyer and... well... uh (see Angelo Lewis AKA Professor Hoffman, Arturo de Ascanio, John Bannon); being a college professor (see Larry Haas and Kainoa Harbottle) and religion (Brother John Hamman). Additionally, as part of further education you can take elective classes that will help you as a magician -- accounting, marketing, theatre, etc. If you further your education and start a "typical" career and then become successful as a magician it is easy to shift into being a magician full time. If you are unsuccessful as a magician and don't have further education or the beginnings of a career... it is much more difficult to shift into a "typical" career.

    My life advice to anyone is to follow a path that provides you with the most options for success. That is not discouragement, but encouragement that you have the ability to follow more than one path simultaneously.
  3. RealityOne has made some excellent points.

    Very early on in life I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I wanted to perform magic professionally. I was bitten by the "Magic Bug" and started giving shows at age 6 at my parents' and relatives' parties. Recently, I just entered my seventh decade of life, so I have learned a few things along the way (and still learning every day). And when young people talk to me about what they want to do in life, I always say, "Follow your dreams."

    Confucius said: "When you love your work, you will never work a day in your life." Oftentimes parents may try to discourage their children from trying to make it as a professional magician or some other kind of artist or entertainer, but that is generally out of love and a genuine concern for the security of their child. If "friends" tell us we can't do it, or that we'll never make it, that may be out of jealousy, or their own self-doubt, or insecurity, and they are not true friends. A true friend will tell you that if you have a passion and put your heart and soul into it, and don't give up, you CAN and WILL succeed.

    The safe path in life is not necessarily the one that leads to happiness. Eugene Burger said: "The House of Magic has many rooms. That means we can enjoy it on whatever level we choose, whether as a hobby or a professional. And the former President John F. Kennedy said that (and I am paraphrasing), to succeed, you must not be afraid of failure.

    Positive thinking and faith in yourself are extremely powerful tools for success in life.
  4. I agree with everything that you said. I for one place education as one of the essentials to become just a good human (of course there's the condition that you must become socially literate, not just bookwise, but that's argument for another day and other forums).

    What I was trying to indicate isn't really that. It's about just making the leap career-wise. *After* the education, if somebody decides to become a professional magician instead of attending the placements in his college? Or maybe they want to quit their socially normal job?

    It's not a very safe option (especially the more of a ''creative'' thing it is. Designing magic websites sounds safer than going out and performing stage shows for a living) and naturally those who care about us and want us to be settled more than anything else (friends, parents, family) would try to steer us to, again, the safer path. What about that time?
    Al e Cat Dabra likes this.
  5. When do people typically work and when do magicians typically perform?
  6. Words of wisdom!!
  7. I didn't really understand this... :oops:
  8. Most people work during the day and enjoy entertainment at night and on weekends. It is possible to do both until you know you will succeed at magic as a full-time job based on your level of income from magic.
    The Top Change Man likes this.
  9. Well, that's exactly what I meant, what about those who *want* to do only magic and are confident they can sustain themselves that way, have formulated a plan and can see that things are turning to their favour, slowly but surely, yet others are not convinced. How do people manage that?
  10. Confidence in yourself. Your always going to have haters. Embrace it, don’t let negativity affect your passion for magic. Avoid the naysayers and keep focusing.
    Are you distracted and giving the haters what they want (attention)? How successful are they to have a true opinion on your career as a professional magician?
  11. I don't think Mohana is talking about haters, but about people you know well who have doubts about your chosen career. People you know to be jerks are so much easier to ignore than friends and family, who may very well be concerned about your well-being. Al e Cat Dabra said it above:
    And even non-parents may not show unconditional support for you; unlike what Al e Cat Dabra said after this quote, people who have concerns about your choices don't have to be either jealous or mean-spirited. It is very much possible that you simply have a cautious friend who is showing concern for you, without jealousy taking the wheel.

    To not get side-tracked and get back to the original question (as I understood it): How do you respond to people close to you who try to discourage you from your chosen path, whether it be out of jealousy or spite, or out of well-founded concerns for you?
  12. I believe this depends on where you are in magic.... Everybody starts somewhere.
    If the person is a beginner, I could probably bet many family and friends will discourage it shoot down your hopes because you’re not as skilled.... yet! As stated above it doesn’t necessarily mean they are trying to be mean... I agree.

    My response to someone who asks me is to keep it brief and maybe mention the success of David Copperfield, Lance Burton, Etc.
    MohanaMisra likes this.
  13. on the other side over encourgment can be bad also
    be told to perform and do shows too early can be detrimental
    MohanaMisra likes this.
  14. I'm an odd example. Not only did I not get into magic until I was well into my twenties, I just kind of stumbled into it being my career, and I was already known as a performer anyway.

    My advice for dealing with the kind of negativity described is to ignore it and keep working at the goals. The strategy David outlined is solid - establish an income in a field that helps the magic career, build a client list and savings account, and then switch over to full time performing when thoroughly established. That is a much easier way to do things than just jumping in with both feet to being a performer.

    As a slight digression - I also think that people who become full time performers too early are a big source of bad performances. They have to take every single gig that comes their way, even if it's not actually a good fit for them. So you see guys who have a children's show, a library show, an adult show, a cabaret show, a variety show slot, etc. - just spread way too thin and never getting really good at any one thing. This also tends to be the type of performer who undercuts the market because they're just scrambling to pay bills all the time.

    Personally I would advise not switching to being a full time performer unless one has enough saved up or enough alternate income streams to handle a full year of no gigs. You never know when something like, say, a global pandemic might shut down the entertainment industry for an indefinite amount of time.
  15. Thanks so much for the feedback!

    This is very true. But while I don't disagree, the problem always is distinguishing who's correct and who's not. I know that we should hear everybody and listen to only a few, but on what factors do we decide who to listen?

    EXAMPLE:- Suppose I have 3 friends.

    Friend A is a very, very close friend. They can do literally anything for me WITHOUT expecting ANY sort of personal gain or feedback.

    (I'm going a bit impractical here, just for purposes of discussion. In real world situations, friend A might be your parents or maybe if you are really lucky, you might actually have a friend like that! In that case, congratulations :) )

    Friend B is a friend who is close and they really do want the best for me. However, they also have a personal gain. Maybe if I pursue, say, performing magic on You Tube. Their personal gain might be becoming the video editor or cameraman. In that case they will probably push me to be a magician. If their personal gain however, is that when I become a software developer for some other private firm, I'll be able to share their workload (I'm trying to make the situations as simple as possible) or they'll be able to take credit for a new employee in the firm, then they'll probably push me to NOT become a magician.

    Friend C is jealous of me. And worse, I don't know that. If think pursuing magic would be good for me, they might try to prohibit me from doing that. But if they think NOT pursuing magic would be better for me, they might try to constantly egg me on to pursue it (say, coax me to take on gigs or do things I'm not technically ready for).

    How do I know who to listen to? Because of course, A, B and C will have to be dealt with differently. Also, is there any actual way of distinguishing them? (<-- I know that's difficult. Just wondering if anybody, unlike me, has a strategy for that. It would help me and everybody else who'll visit this thread now or in the future.)


    This, is actually a very good point. I never thought about it...

    Thanks! :)

    This is the kind of tangible advice I was looking for! Thanks. :)

    I think Andi Gladwin from Vanishing Inc says similar things in his ebook Going Pro. So I guess the best thing to do is always to test the waters and then step in slowly, rather than dive in directly?
  16. That is my opinion, yes. Diving in directly will almost certainly mean a lot of time and energy spent spinning your wheels and struggling while trying to figure out how to make a career in performing work.
    MohanaMisra likes this.
  17. "How do I know who to listen to? Because of course, A, B and C will have to be dealt with differently. Also, is there any actual way of distinguishing them?"

    Listen to "D," your heart.
    MohanaMisra likes this.
  18. Just like Reality One,
    I am also a married father of 3 teenagers. I am a full time elementary education teacher of 20 years and have also been a paid performing magician for 20 years. Let this sink in for a minute. There is NO WAY possible I could support my entire family and pay bills and have spending cash to support and raise my family. I cannot even fathom the possible stress it would put on me emotionally do "HAVE" to have gigs in order to put food on the table. By having a full time career as a teacher, that income allows me to enjoy my other career as a magician and balloon sculptor. All of that income is solely extra and helps me further my knowledge by attending conventions, purchasing new effects/books, etc. I know too many people who have dropped out of college to try to pursue magic professionally as their sole income and have fallen flat on their face and are now sleeping on someone else's couch because they could not make ends meet. I'm sorry but that is the brutal reality for many, not all, aspiring magicians who do not have a full time job. As reality said, most performing happens in the evenings and on the weekends so it allows you to do both quite easily. :)
  19. I have been very lucky in the sense that I have had a ton of support from my family being a professional magician. Even my wife is behind me 100%. She loves that I am able to make a living doing the thing that I love. Occasionally when someone finds out I am a magician they will ask “that’s cool but what do you do for your REAL job?” It kinda hurts sometimes but most people do not see magic as an actual career. Same can be said for YouTubers and TikTokers. They can totally make a full time living off those platforms and do. But when someone says “I am a YouTuber” usually our first instinct is to say “but what do you do as a real job?”

    I suppose the moral of the story is to not let negativity keep you from doing the thing you love. GARY vee says something like “Stop listening to people who are not invested in seeing you succeed at the thing you are trying to accomplish.” If it makes you happy and you are able to make a good living off of it then by all means keep going. It is totally ok to also have a side gig or pet time job in order to keep up too. Please don’t starve to death trying to be a pro. Lol we all have slow months and there is no shame in working a 9-5 to make ends meat.
    The Top Change Man likes this.

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