• 3 Questions every performer should have already asked themselves

  • March 30, 2020

  • I am a huge fan of questions. I was always the kid who would endlessly ask “why?” until someone snapped. This curiosity of mine continued into university where I studied Philosophy and Psychology, two of my favourite subjects to read about to this day. For whatever reason, I have always loved questions, and much to my friend’s annoyance, I enjoy drilling down on a point to get to what is actually at the heart of the matter.

    I don’t think I am unique in this fact, and the only reason I believe it prevailed into adulthood for me, was because I was an introvert by nature. Some people may call it sad, but I got on best with my parents and their friends, preferring their conversations to the nonsense and passing fancies that entertained my peer group. (I would love to say I didn’t talk like this as a kid, but I think we both know why I didn’t have many friends!)

    Why ask questions?

    I have always loved intellectual conversation, and one of my favourite sayings is still:

    “Small minds talk about people, average minds discuss events, but great minds discuss ideas.”

    Part of the reason I always like this quote was probably because it allowed me to feel superior to the people around me. Again, we see why I didn’t have many friends growing up. The thing is though; there is a lot of truth in that quote. To this day, I still enjoy talking about all those things that it seems like most of us shy away from, and the best way to get to these topics is to ask good questions.

    One of the best reasons for asking questions, particularly of ourselves, is because of the effect they have on us. Questions are a great way to trick your brain into thinking a particular way. For example, if you have ever looked into affirmations, which I recommend you do, it turns out they are most effective when posed in the form of questions like, “Why am I so successful”. This is because when you ask that question, your brain starts looking for answers, but when you say “I am so successful”, your brain will more likely look for contradictions.

    So, here are a few great questions to start asking yourself!

    What is my end goal?  

    When answering this question, it is essential to remember that the only difference between a dream and a goal is a plan. So dream your wildest fantasy, think about anything and everything you want to have in your life, get it down on paper and start working backwards so you can create a plan on how to get there.

    Now you will have a plan about how to get the things you want. After all, you can’t build a house if you don’t first know what you want it to look like, so get designing!

    What does success look like for you?

    Answering this question should be a bit easier now that you have some idea of what you want out of life. But with this question, you also want to be looking at those specific targets that you believe will fill you with that feeling of success, of achievement, of having conquered the mountain.

    Break your plans down into milestones and look at which ones will have an impact on you. Think big while still being reasonable, which is a little bit of an oxymoron I know, but what I mean is, don’t set them so far out of reach their unattainable. Start with small ones and build up. I, for example, started by considering getting up in the morning before 10 am and doing some exercise a success. Now that is something I can’t not do, so my new goal is to get up before 8 am every day.

    You want to be able to celebrate your successes often, otherwise what’s the point of doing this!?

    Why is this the way to your goals?

    For me, magic will always be the wagon upon which I will drag myself to the finish line, but recently the relationship has warped. Not in a negative way mind you, but rather an adapting to the times. Close-up magic may never be the same again with the world in its current state, so the only thing to do is look to other ways to work within magic. I used to rely solely on performance gigs to earn an income and to relish the world of a magician. Lately, though, I have found myself quite taken to writing, teaching and consulting on all things magic.

    For you, whatever it is that you are doing, it could be worth looking somewhere nearby to what you are already doing and seeing if there isn’t a particular niche you’ve been overlooking. Perhaps you would be a more entertaining stage magician, but you’ve hidden behind close up magic, or maybe you’re abilities as a mentalist are being underutilised.

    Just think about experimenting, sometimes the “path less travelled” is better hidden than we would like, though that doesn’t mean it isn’t also closer than you think.

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