Today I received an email from Jeff McBride. It contained a message from Jordan Wright, a talented artist, both as magical performer and filmmaker.
How do you judge yourself and your success? Do you look at your career and see completion or do you see room for growth? Many magicians might choose to measure their success by how many shows they have done. Others might choose to measure only by the amount of money they make. The tendency is to dwell on the work we have in the moment or have had in the past. But there are those times when we feel like we are working just as hard yet we are getting very little “work”. It is easy to get to feeling down and to feel like we are not a success. We might receive a bad review, and suddenly our self-doubt creeps in. In the end, it all comes down to our attitude in how we judge our success. If we judge how great our work is by what we have done, or the feedback we receive, then we are only looking at the end result rather than the passion we had doing it.
One of my favorite types of art is conceptual art. In its origins, conceptual art challenged the belief that the purpose of art was to create material objects. Conceptual art is never focused on the result, or the product that is produced. Instead, the focus is placed on the process, the creation of new concepts and ideas. Relating this to magic, think of magicians who are always striving to develop new techniques and skills to accomplish an effect. A lay audience might never see much of what they come up with, yet they are always generating new ideas. Perhaps we can learn from this “concept” to measure success by our passion to attempt something new. After all, we have to be willing to create something beyond what has been done in the past in order for our art to evolve. Our work is not just about the end result, it is about the creative process. The end result will look good if the process felt good.
I'm a mirror (and so are you).