Brandon Love MagicBrandon Love Magic
  • 0

by Brandon Love

After performing at a private party last week, one of the guests approached me to chat. He was curious about the study of magic. In particular, he was interested in the practice of it.

“You must spend hours with a deck of card in your hands,” he said, looking at me as one might look at a fascinating lizard at the zoo. “How many hours would it take to master a trick?”

“To be frank, some tricks are so deceptive because they are so simple, while I’ve invested thousands of hours into some pieces that I still don’t perform.”

He nodded, “so you have exercises that you do? Like, for your hands? Like bodybuilding, but for hand dexterity?”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

I’m just like a bodybuilder, but I focus on the development of little teeny tiny muscles in my hands.

Then he said the third most popular thing I hear as a performer of magic: “I could never do that. I don’t have the hand muscles.” He joked, “you probably have more muscles in your hands than in the rest of your body.”

Okay pal, we get it.

I chatted with the guy for a few minutes before he was whisked off to the rest of the party. But our conversation has been ruminating in my mind all week.

It’s natural to assume that there are things we cannot do, especially if they don’t come easily to us.

For many years of my life, if I found something even the slightest bit difficult I ran away from it. I avoided the discomfort of the challenge, and stuck with what was comfortable.

if I found something even the slightest bit difficult I ran away from it

I did this with my magic for many years too.

The thing about magic, and perhaps about most things, is that to get to the really good stuff, you have to jump right into the awkward, difficult, challenging stuff first.

This past summer I decided I was going to improve my sleight-of-hand game.

One of my coaches showed me a mind-blowing trick with a deck of cards more than a couple years ago. I remember when he first shared the technical method with me. I said to myself “that’s wayyyy too hard. I’ll never be able to do that.”

So I avoided it. Until last summer.

I decided I would learn how to perform this piece of magic. Every day I devoted two hours to learning, practicing, and refining the techniques involved. It was boring, frustrating, and my self-confidence plummeted. After the first week of effort I remembered why I stuck to the easy stuff. I started to wonder if it was really possible that there were some things I would never be able to do.

But things started to change after the first week.

All of a sudden I was hitting one of the techniques right on the button! I still had six more techniques to learn, but at least I was able to do one of them.

It seems I developed a muscle I didn’t even know I had.

With this boost to my ego I put my trust in the process. The daily practice became easier as I started to see results quicker, and instead of dreading the work I started to enjoy it.

I put my trust in the process

The more I think about it the clearer it is that everything is like this.

Which leads me to believe that anybody can do anything. The childhood adage bears truth!

We all already have the muscles we need to accomplish our goals. It might be the case that we’ve never used the muscles, and so it feels like they’re not even there. But with exercise and nourishment, we can help to develop the muscles we need to achieve the impossible.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from my meditations with cards this past summer. Perhaps you’ll find something helpful in your own pursuits.

  1. Motivation follows action – I definitely didn’t feel motivated to put in the hours at the beginning. Especially when I wasn’t seeing any measurable improvement. I also wasn’t motivated to write a book in the beginning. Or to get my health in order. But as my friend and mentor Joel wisely says, motivation follows action. Lots of times we wait for the right motivation to do something. But we need to just do the something, and we’ll feel more motivated to continue.
  2. Having a partner, mentor, or coach makes a difference – This summer I was on the road and away from my magic friends and coaches. Thus my practice hours were long and lonely. But worse than that, I didn’t have anyone to give me feedback on my practice, I didn’t have anyone to help me see my blind spots. Coaches help the learning go quicker, and their encouragement does not go unnoticed.
  3. We have muscles we don’t know about – The key to doing anything is to recognize and trust in the process required to do it. We all have the “muscles” to do anything already, we just need to develop them. Whether sleight of hand muscles, or risk-taking muscles, or compassion muscles, we all have abilities we don’t even know about. We all have untapped potential.

The word “can’t” is one of the greatest excuses we tell ourselves. But I’m here to say you can. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding.

And when the going gets tough, remember, no bodybuilder built a body overnight.

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.

No Comments

Leave a Comment

The Muscles I Never Had