“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
— E. E. Cummings
Having been a magician for quite a few years now, I’ve had the opportunity to see countless different magicians perform every type of magic. Just a few years ago, I’d bet that you would have only seen a couple of magicians.
This has changed. With the popularity of magic shows on TV and online today, people are more exposed to magic than ever before. And that makes me smile.
But when I look back at all of the magicians I’ve seen, only a few really stick out to me. I remember enjoying most of them, but when I try to think of what tricks they performed and what really struck me as amazing, only a few magicians come to mind.
This is because most magicians perform the same tricks, in the same style, with the same jokes as everyone else.
And if I — a magician who watches magic very attentively — can’t remember the difference between one trick and another in a magician’s act, I highly doubt you or any other member of the audience can!
Many of these tricks are classics of magic. They’re the ones that the old masters would performer, and they’re the ones written about in every great magic book.
These are amazing tricks! The problem is that too many magicians perform the tricks exactly as they are described in these magic books, and the results are everyone’s acts look the same.
Art is authentic
Art isn’t something that you read in a book and then try to copy. It’s a combination of everything that makes us who we are. A painter who’s passionate about nature can’t paint a true piece of art without that passion coming through.
In the same way, a magician who’s passionate about Shakespeare will unknowingly let Shakespeare’s works influence every part of his magic show…if he let’s his creativity take control.
But a magician who just copies what he sees and reads will never let any of his personal interests into his magic show, because it would be too different from what he knows.
The best way to stand out — whether it’s as an artist or in your career — is to let your personality shine through.
Your personality is 100% authentic and makes you unique and memorable. Trying to hide it will cause you to blend in with the crowd and be easily forgotten, just like the magicians who have built shows by copying others.
Letting your personality shine through your work may seem like the obvious thing to do, yet so many people try to hide their personalities and copy others instead.
Maybe you do this without realizing it; I know I did for a long time, and probably still do sometimes today.
The reason why people would ever want to hide their personalities is because it’s scary to stick out from the crowd.
I learned this the hard way
When everyone is looking at you, you may feel that you’re not good enough and everyone is going to figure it out. I definitely felt this way for years when I began performing, and instead I relied on copying others.
I don’t mean I copied other magicians’ scripts and rip off their tricks, but I would perform classics straight out of the book and with a similar style to everyone else.
I never really grew as a magician until I began focusing on other aspects of my personality.
I devoted more time to hiking mountains, another great love of mine. I did this purely for the love of hiking and without giving any thought to magic.
When I allowed my personality to come through in my performances, my love of hiking kept popping up in my mind. I am now developing several routines that circle around this love.
Everyone wants to see your personality.
It’s the reason why your boss hired you for your current position. Dozens of other qualified candidates applied, but it was your personality that won you the job.
If you watch ten different magic shows, the magician with the strongest, most authentic personality will be the one that you remember, regardless of what tricks they performed.
Letting your personality shine through your work and art is one of the most important things you can do to stand out, because there is no one else in the world with such a personality.
To stand out from the rest — whether it’s in art or your career — you must be authentically you. Magicians who just copy what others have done or what is written in the books are doomed to all look the same; a corporate employee who simply tells people what they want to hear and spits out facts he learned in college like a parrot will give his organization no memorable value. In both cases, thinking and acting authentic will put you ten steps ahead of your peers.