• Don’t be too harsh on yourself

  • June 15, 2020

  • If you’re joining along in this quest to be a part of the magic world, learning some tricks of the trade, how to be a magician and whatnot, then you have to remember not to be too harsh on yourself. In fact, this applies no matter what you do.

    I’ve collected a few sayings and the like that I think apply to us as entertainers and performers. Admittedly they can apply to anyone, learning any skill, in any field, but I like them a lot. One of the reasons for that is that it took me a long time to be kinder to myself as a person. I don’t know where I heard it first, but one of my favourites is as follows:

    “If one of your friends spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, you wouldn’t be friends with that person anymore.”

    For me, that was like a slap in the face, in a good way, of course! But I had been guilty of this for far too long, continually beating myself up for every minor error or deviation from perfection. So I started to remind myself how I would like to be treated, how I try and treat the people I care about in my life, after all, why shouldn’t I be one of those people!

    Don’t forget how far you’ve come, because of how far you have to go.

    As with all great sayings, there are plenty of versions, especially of this one. But it is very applicable, clichés are clichés because they are accurate in one form or another after all.

    So whatever skill you are working on, just remember that you have come a long way from where you started. If you have ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, it can be applied here. To give you a quick summary, this effect is a “cognitive bias” based around the fact that people with little to no skill in a particular field tend to be severely overconfident. This is because they know so little, they can’t recognise how little they know. Whereas you, my intellectual reader, have gained a significant amount of insight into your chosen field, and as such, suffer from the knowledge of knowing how little you know on the grand scale.

    So take a breath, look around, and appreciate how far you’ve come, it may well be a lot further than you might have thought.

    Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill.

    I thought I should include at least one saying or quote in one of these posts that I can actually tell you who said it. But, regardless of that fact, I think this is an important message. I’ve talked about embracing failure before, and this little tidbit ties in quite nicely with that message. Nobody who could ever have been called “great” or “successful”, got there without failing. So be optimistic, keep pushing forward and most importantly:

    Believe in yourself

    I thought that was a relatively smooth segue. Maybe not, what do I know? Well, I’ll tell you what I do know is the importance of believing in myself. I don’t always manage to do this, and when I don’t, that is when I falter, trip, stumble or fail. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”. That was said by Henry Ford, saying the same thing. Your attitude will be the deciding factor as to if you will succeed or not. So take the time to believe in yourself, it will probably be the greatest investment you ever make.

    Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny – Mahatma Gandhi.

    Remember what I just said about believing in yourself? Well, now you know why. If you put yourself down, how can you expect great results when your actions will reflect your thoughts. The cycle mentioned above will become a negative feedback loop, pulling you ever down. If, however, you start with the right beliefs, that same sequence becomes a positive feedback loop, driving you ever higher to greater and greater things.

    Only you can decide which will be best for you. (Though I think you know what the right answer might be!)

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