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Beneath the Trapdoor #3 with Bronson Chadwick - You Can’t Do it All

Doing magic as a hobby or a career is like being on a giant never-ending road trip. It requires thought, planning, and the support of other people.

Cruise ships. Manipulations. Birthday parties. Card magic. Trade shows. Coin magic. Conferences. Linking Rings. Restaurant table hopping magic. Host a magic convention. Stage Illusions. Lectures. Clubs. Canes, wands, candles. Street magic. Cups and balls. Start a magic school. Write for a magic periodical. Win FISM. Become a Vegas headliner. Master the Zombie Ball.

You can’t do it all.

Does the above list overwhelm you? It should!

Here’s something else that is sure to overwhelm: You probably have a magic drawer or even a large room full of magic stuff! Maybe you’re like me and you have a couple of large storage warehouse units packed full of magic equipment and supplies that haven’t seen daylight in months. It’s a problem that most magicians seem to have.

But there’s an underlying problem behind the magic junk room that encapsulates all of the issues we have as junk collectors and project hoarders: our busy minds.

If you’re like me then your mind is occupied nearly 24/7 with magic. Routines that you want to do, ideas for magic effects, projects you hope to tackle in the future and so much more. Having a busy mind can be a terrible thing for your growth in the art of magic. If you’re so loaded down with all of these things, then you’ll probably not get very far.

We are not God. We cannot do everything we want to do and do it well all at the same time. It doesn’t matter how much of a “multitasker” you are because at the end of the day, you can only do one thing WELL at a time. You cannot take on the cruise ship market while assembling your new stage illusion act for Broadway and also master your children’s show in an attempt to pitch it to Disney. In the same way that when you get into the car to go somewhere, you can only go down one road at a time to one single destination at a time.

Once you’ve arrived at a certain destination (goal) you can then reevaluate and choose another destination on your road trip in magic.

So, what do we need to do? We need to let some things go! You can only have ONE destination planned on your “road trip” at a time.

Marie Kondo, author of numerous home organization books and host of the hit Netflix show Tidying Up is a master of letting things go. Her famous tag line is “Does this item spark joy for you?” As she assists hoarders decide what in their home must stay and what must go, she challenges the client to hold each and every item in their hands and decide if the item is in fact useful and if it inspires. Those items which do not inspire or offer some utilitarian purpose must be discarded or donated.

We must do the same in magic. You can’t do every trick. You can’t tackle every market. You can’t perform for every audience. You can’t portray every character. And that’s okay! Whittle down your aspirations and ideas in magic down to those few core ideas that are truly YOU and you’ll be left with goals so clearly defined that you will become a threat to competitors in magic.

Let’s get practical. Get a notebook. Yes, right now. Go on, do it!

A simple one-dollar investment can save you years of confusion and frustration. Every time you have an idea, turn to a fresh page and title the project at the top. Date the project as well. These projects could be ideas for a new trick or routine, a show that you want to do, a character to develop or anything else in magic. Then, spend exactly ten minutes (no more) brainstorming all of your thoughts and ideas onto the page. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or organizing your words. Just write in stream of consciousness for ten minutes without stopping.

After ten minutes you will have all of your thoughts on paper. This notebook of ideas can serve as a catalogue for future projects. It also helps to defend your current project and goals from being watered down by excessive ideas that can overwhelm you. Once your current project is completed and goals are achieved, you can then come back to the notebook and choose a page for your next “road trip destination.”

Using this notebook will de-clutter your mind and allow you to think more clearly about your present project. It will refine the distorted light of your magic passions into a focused laser beam. Just like driving a car down the road, you can only move in one direction at a time. Choose your “destinations” carefully and count the cost before going down the road. Make careful notes of future destinations you would like to visit and never stop adventuring.

Remember that you don’t need to know every magic trick in the books to be an accomplished magician. Professional magicians often only have about forty routines that they do on a regular basis. These routines are highly polished because the magicians who do them are focused!

And for that magic room full of magic supplies we discussed, just remember that there is only so much room in the car for luggage! Don’t be afraid to sell or donate unwanted magic! Unclutter your MIND. Unclutter your MAGIC ROOM. Then FOCUS your God-given passions into art to serve your audiences with unforgettable, polished experiences; one project at a time.

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