Brandon Love MagicBrandon Love Magic
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by Brandon Love

Two hundred magicians packed into a conference room at a hotel in Vegas. We all sat frozen in anticipation, slightly leaning toward the stage. Another magician, simply dressed in black, walked carefully onto the platform. He said nothing, but gestured to a coin he held in his left hand. He showed his right hand empty. He slowly closed his fists. Then he closed his eyes. A look of concentration settled in his face, but nothing moved. He made no moves. He looked up at the audience and smiled devilishly. He turned over his left hand to show that the coin had vanished. Then he opened his right fist – and there was the coin! There was a long pause, where the air completely thinned, and wonder swirled through the silence. Then the room erupted in applause and hooting and hollering. Audience members sought eye contact with one another to share a moment of impossibility. Many sat stunned for several minutes. All of it, over a coin trick.

Mind you, it was perhaps the best coin trick I’d ever seen before. So simple, and incredibly magical. It was unlike anything many of us had seen before. It’s a wonderful thing to experience new possibilities. Refreshing, really.

This is one of the reasons I love going to conferences in general. I always seem to find some inspiring new ideas to play with.

For some, creating, practicing, and performing magic might seem like child’s play. I assure you it is anything but. Mmm, I take that back. It is a lot like child’s play. But it also demands a dedication to the craft that commands hard work, risk-taking, and collaboration.

Some best guesses suggest that there are about 50000 magicians in the world. Of course there are many more people who know one or two tricks, but about 50000 who study and create, practice and perform magic.

Last month I had the chance to hang out with 1500 of them at a magic convention in Las Vegas.

It’s been said we should surround ourselves with those we most aspire to be like. And being at a conference of magicians filled me to the brim with aspiration.

I saw impeccable magic (see above), shared a lot of laughs, but most importantly I met some amazing people who reminded me of some valuable life lessons. Perhaps you’ll find some value in them too.

5 Life Lessons I Learned from a Magic Convention

  1. There Are More Possibilities Than I Can EVER See

Hanging out at a magic convention is eye-opening! Imagine hallways full of imaginatively decorated characters performing tricks with cards and coins and crayons and swords and everything in between. And just when you think you’ve seen every coin trick there is to see, a dark-clad magician shows you something you’ve never seen before and totally melts your mind.

Conferences have the inherent ability to show us new ideas and perspectives. Put a lot of people together in the same space and their differences spark curiosity in one another. While I sometimes feel a bit of dread at the thought of going to a conference, I’m usually so grateful for the new possibilities I quickly find myself surrounded by.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like we’ve seen it all. To feel like we’ve got things figured out. Hanging out at the magic convention reminded me that possibilities are endless. What a refreshing idea!


  1. Success Comes to Those Who Work

Magic conferences create a wonderful chance to mingle with some of the most successful performers in the world. I’ve studied the work of many magicians, but it wasn’t until I actually got to meet some of them that I began to understand the REAL work involved in magic. Just as an example, I chatted with a world champion who spends 10-hours (!) a day (every day!) working on his act. And it shows in the quality of the act, which he performs flawlessly for audiences around the world. The act itself is only 10 minutes long, and it perfectly disguises the thousands of hours of practice that created it.

I met so many people who shared their creative processes, their practice regimen, or their travel demands with me. And very quickly I was reminded of the core of success: Dedication.

My most successful work tends to follow times I convinced myself to work a little longer, to push a little further.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but to be excellent at anything, one must be committed to the constant striving. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement, and when we lean into that space we can grow our own success. I try to think about this whenever I am misdirected from what’s important.


  1. Kindness Holds Us Together

It is deeply satisfying to feel included, and I’ve never felt more included than I did in Las Vegas. I was greeted and welcomed and introduced by so many strangers-turned-friends.

And I have to admit, I’m always a bit nervous when I hang out with groups of magicians. There’s a nagging desire to compare myself to others, and then I often have this fear that people are judging me negatively all the time.

But almost immediately after walking into the hotel I bumped into some conference attendees who shook my hand and asked my name.

It makes sense that a cornerstone of the magic community is kindness – after all, we’re in the business of preserving secrets – the community depends on serious trust! We’ve all had kind people share secrets with us, and there’s a great sense of gratitude that encourages us to pay it forward. This secret-sharing necessitates a tight-knit community, which makes a magic convention a buzzing, friendly place.

I was reminded that kindness is the only way we gain access to different perspectives and for this reason  I believe it is the glue that will keep us together in the long haul.


  1. Mentorship Matters

A lot of the fun of a magic convention happens in the space between the workshops and speakers. Most attendees are willing to showcase their work and share feedback with each other.

I took it upon myself to share a particularly difficult trick that I’ve been trying to learn. I’d first learned it from a book, then I watched videos on it. In total I invested dozens of hours without seeming to make any progress.

A group of three magicians sat down at the table with me to examine my technique. They showed me their versions of the move and offered me helpful ideas to develop my own. I practiced that night in my room, and after just one hour I had nailed it. Not perfectly, of course, but enough to recognize the value of having a coach.

Magic is an art of mentorship. Many things are. Working with a mentor makes learning and progress faster. It also helps to build accountability. Mentors and coaches help us see things that we can’t, and help us get out of our own way.

Many people have experience in the kind of success you’re looking for. Find a way to spend time with them, then listen deeply.


  1. A Clear Why Creates Powerful Magic

There are two types of magicians: those who are clear on their reason for performing magic, and those who aren’t. Those who ARE tend to radiate purpose and come across authentically. Those who AREN’T are sometimes cheesy, and usually difficult for an audience to connect with.

I don’t mean to be judgmental (I certainly didn’t know why I was performing magic for most of the years I performed it… even now I play with the question a lot). But it’s something I noticed at this year’s convention. A lot of the most valuable work in magic involves introspection and careful thought.

I connected with a fellow attendee as we filed out of a lecture. I was all excited by the trick we learned.

“That was pretty incredible, huh? I would love to add that to my show.”

“Yeah, it was great. Wouldn’t work for me though.”

I was caught off-guard a bit by his nonchalance. The trick we learned was both incredibly amazing and deceptively easy to do. It even had some built-in moments of comedy. By many standards, this was a perfect trick.

But my new friend didn’t want it. He appreciated the effect in the hands of others. But as he explained to me, this trick wouldn’t fit his story. While it’s almost perfect, in his show it would be inauthentic.

My new friend had been performing magic for nearly a decade it turns out, and when he began he wanted to include EVERYTHING in his act. As he described it to me, his show lacked any sense of purpose, and people didn’t really take him seriously. It wasn’t until he decided WHY he wanted to perform magic for others that he pieced together a show that he, and his audiences, loved.

Chatting with my new pal at the convention reminded me just how important it is to get clear on the reasons we do things. When we understand our WHY, it’s easier to navigate the HOW – not just in magic, of course, but with everything we do.


There you have it. My five lessons learned from a magic convention. I came back feeling refreshed and refueled, that’s for sure!

I often speak at conferences and there’s something special about events that bring together many people, uniting them with a shared interest. They can be a source of inspiration, and memories. And they offer a great platform to challenge, and change our thinking.

Until next time, surround yourself with people you admire and spend more time listening than talking. I bet you’ll be inspired by what you learn.

About brandonlovemagic
Brandon Love is a magician, speaker, and coach. He helps people un-stick their minds to become more creative and achieve the impossible. Combining his unique blend of awe-inspiring entertainment with experience-derived insights, Brandon creates an unforgettable experience on stage or up close. He is also the co-author of Brainsprouting: How to Become Fearlessly Creative & Have Better Ideas More Often.

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5 Life Lessons I Learned from a Magic Convention