All those fluid movements and effortless reveals that your favorite magician performs takes thousands of hours of practice. Seriously.
Practice alone in a room, practice in front of a mirror, practice in front of family and friends, practice in front of random strangers at the bar, practice at that office holiday party — if you want to be good at performing magic, you need to practice.
I avoid practice. Part of it is time, although I could make the time. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to set aside 30 minutes a day. No, my real problem is performance anxiety. As soon as I start to practice I begin thinking about performing. And when I think about performing I think about screwing up. And when I think about screwing up I think about becoming embarrassed on stage. And when I think about becoming embarrassed on stage it feeds into my agoraphobia. My chest tightens, my vision blurs, and all sounds become muffled as if I’m underwater. And then I have to stop practicing.
Still, I want to be able to perform magic and not just study theory and history (which is also very enjoyable.) I’ve learned a lot over the last few years. It would be nice to spontaneously perform a trick at a family gathering or cheer up someone on the street who looks like they’re having a bad day. And the only way to actually be able to do those things is to practice.
Practice and face my fears. No pressure.
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