Sunday, February 20, 2011

The "Taking Things Too Seriously" Phase

As magicians, and even just as performers and artists in general, we all go through what I like to call the "Taking Things Too Seriously" phase. You've either been there, or currently are there... or even approaching it. Let's assess exactly what this phase is and why it's bad.

In middle school, and the first year of high school, I had my "Taking Things Too Seriously" phase... I was the serious, passionate sleight of hand artist. And I still am.... but with one big difference. I cared too much.

In this phase, you take yourself too seriously, take your effort too seriously, and take the craft in general too seriously. Although this seems like a positive attribute for an artist, it is the opposite. When I went through this phase, there was a difference in the way people looked at me. Audiences, peers at school, they all respected me... but they didn't LIKE ME.

Not to say that they disliked me, but I gave them no reason to feel anything but neutral toward me because, simply put, I wasn't real. Nobody knew who I really was because it was always about the magic. Everybody knew Michael Kras, but nobody knew Michael.

Word to the wise: LOOSEN UP! Stop caring so much. When I finally got over myself, got the 12 inch magic wand out of my ass and started being who I really was, people liked me. Now, everybody knows Michael Kras, the entertainer, and Michael, they laid-back, playful guy who loves horror movies, golfing, music, acting, singing, and just being with people. Now, all the people who thought of me as nothing more than a magician are all my friends.

Learn to laugh at yourself... learn to laugh at your craft. Learn to not take it so seriously. I don't mean stop caring and completely disregard magic as an art by spitting on it's name, but don't cradle your cards everywhere you go. That was me 4 years ago, and it was awful. I spent time with people at school and I built positive relationships with my peers, but these weren't the kind of people who would call me after school and meet up with me at Starbucks. I knew plenty of friendly people, but few friends.

Realize magic isn't the end-all passion of your life. Realize you probably aren't going to become the next big sleight of hand superstar. Just relax, and enjoy the ride. The more you push your magic, the less good it will do for you in many aspects of life... don't push magic, let magic push you.

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