Self Confidence

INTRODUCTION

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge.”

~Charles Darwin

How many people do you know who are absolutely, positively sure of themselves, yet are about as wrong as they could possibly be? Based purely on anecdotal evidence you could come to the conclusion that morons are the most confident in themselves, yet geniuses are often the most doubtful about their abilities.

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Success Will Destroy You

When I first started performing, I didn’t trust the audience. I would finish a routine where I predicted the future, moved objects with my mind, or influenced someone’s choices, and people would clap like crazy. It’s amazing stuff, and it’s no wonder people would applaud!

But I didn’t believe it.

I thought they were bored, disappointed, or just clapping because that’s what’s expected of them.

Maybe they were, who knows?

Point is, I’m not psychic so I have no real idea what they were thinking.

What was really going on was I was dealing with my own impostor syndrome, and feeling like I wasn’t worth the positive attention I was getting.

Eventually I figured out that nobody has to clap if they don’t want to. They seemed to be doing it on their own volition because they genuinely wanted to show their appreciation.

I’d made it past the hurdle of self doubt without tripping.

Since I passed that test, life tries to destroy me using a different approach: success.

After shows people love to come up and shake my hand. They want me to sign autographs. They tell me how much they love my show (& by extension me).

Basically every single person I talk to afterwards has nice things to say.

It’s an illusion.

What I’m experiencing is the result of a self-selecting process. Turns out, the only people who are willing to stand in line to talk to me are the people who liked what I did. If someone isn’t a fan, they won’t waste their time; they’ll just walk out. This creates a situation after shows where I’m only encountering people who like what I do.

This can destroy me.

It gives me a false sense that there’s no need to improve. There’s no need to continue working on my craft. There’s no need to put in more effort.

That’s a lie.

Success requires constant struggle. Constant improvement. Constant reevaluation of choices.

Moral of the Story

Don’t believe your own hype. Thank people for the kindness they show you, but don’t make your choices based on the opinions of others.

Stay grounded, and don’t lose your drive.

Asking Permission for Greatness

“Who did Michael Jordan ask to be great?”

That’s the question that stopped the conversation.

(We were in Chicago, so I figured it would hit home.)

I had just wrapped a workshop, and a woman came up to pick my brain. She was listing off reasons why she wasn’t working on her life’s mission, but at the heart of it she was asking for permission to start.

The scary part is, nobody can give it to you; you have to give yourself permission to succeed.

“Let me bounce this idea off you.”

This is a common question I get after workshops or when people find out I’m a consultant.

It seems like it’s an easy question, but really, it’s another form of asking permission.

Basically, they’re asking this dude they’re meeting for the first time to validate their idea in order for them to feel comfortable enough to move forward.

The reality is, if a single stranger’s opinion is going to make or break your success, you have deeper work to do than asking me what I think.

Why do we do that?

When we’re kids, we’re told to ask permission for everything.

“Can I go to the restroom?”

“Can I stay the night with Erik?”

“Can we get a puppy?”

Then you turn 18, and BOOM everything changes. Some people, though, never stop asking permission to be alive. They’re looking for someone else to validate their place in the universe.

They’ve forgotten that billions of years have conspired to put just the right conditions together to make sure you are alive to enjoy this ride we call life.

You’re the person in charge of giving yourself the permission to win. The universe created you. You’re here. Make it count.

It’s your choice.

The people who have made the most amazing lives for themselves don’t ask permission to be great. It’s less “who will let me?” and more “who is going to be foolish enough to try and stop me?”

That’s how committed to your own success you have to be. You have to be willing to stand in your place in the universe, and make it count.

Now, if you choose to forge ahead and create your own path to success, I’m here to encourage and support you to the best of my abilities. If you choose not to, and stay in the grind, that’s cool too.

But it’s up to you to make the choice.

Magic of Success

Magicians are in the business of creating experiences that are absolutely mind blowing. No matter how impossible it seems, however, tricks work by making use of natural principles of nature.

If you look at people who are massively successful, it can seem like it happened as if by magic. They started a company and *POOF* they’re incredibly successful.

Success, no matter how incredible, is the result of effort applied in accordance to certain fundamental principles. I’m going to explain how magicians do what they do to help you understand what it takes to be successful in your own way.

I’m not supposed to do this.

I’ve consulted for Criss Angel. I’ve performed at the world-famous Magic Castle in LA. I’ve entertained United States troops stationed overseas.

I’ve been in magic my whole life, and I know my way around the world of mystery.

What I’m about to tell you is absolutely forbidden in the magical community; I’m going to reveal the secret to every single trick you’ve ever seen in your life.

Not only that, once you’re in the know, I’m going to explain exactly how you can use that knowledge to conjure results in your personal & business life that will look like pure magic to outsiders.

Anyone looking in won’t be able to comprehend how you can get incredible results, but you and I will both know there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Here Goes

Magic is boring.

There, I said it.

That’s the biggest secret in magic; just how simple it truly is.

People want magic to be this exotic thing that lives in a secret dusty room holding arcane knowledge, rituals, spells, and even a hex or two. But when it comes right down to it, magic is actually elegant in its simplicity.

Sure, there are magical masterpieces requiring feats of engineering and technology that are phenomenally complex to create, but no matter how complicated the machinery every single trick you’ve heard about is built on fundamental psychological principles that work across all cultures.

Those principles reveal truths about how we, as people, navigate the world, make decisions, & think about ourselves.

I’m going to dive into what it all means for business, relationships, and beyond.

*pulls a book on the shelf which swings open to reveal a dusty room, and walks in*

The Secret To Every Magic Trick Ever

 “The magician creates the context for logical assumptions that are later shown to not be true.” ~Jonathan Pritchard

Forgive me for quoting myself, but I want to make sure the world knows I said it first.

There’s a lot going on in the quote, so let me break it down piece by piece, and explain how it applies to other worlds outside magical performance.

The Magician…

This is the agent of action. This is the person who is making things happen. This is you.

Since prehistory, magicians (shamans, spirit guides, etc) have fulfilled a very important role in societies as someone who understands the forces of nature, and uses that knowledge to bend reality to his/her will.

They are considered to be in possession of knowledge that is beyond ordinary comprehension, and capable of creating miracles.

I love that idea because it is so very close to reality. Everyone knows something that seems so obvious to them, but appears completely mystifying to anyone else. In this way, we are all magicians of our own lives. We understand the world in a unique way, and we can all use that power to create amazing results.

…creates the context…

Context means everything. Context is the reason a comedian can call someone a name and everyone in the room laughs, but if you try it at a bar you’ll get a lesson in manners outside in the parking lot.

Context is the basis for relationships. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything exists in relationship to everything else in the universe. It’s the circumstances and facts around an idea or situation that helps shape its meaning.

How context is built, and used, has far-reaching implications.

A magician is on stage in a theater. People know that the magician is going to be performing tricks, and that it is a performance. These are all parts of the puzzle that come together to provide a context for the audience to enjoy the magical performance.

The experience is further crafted through the performer’s words, actions, music, lights, and every other tool of stagecraft at his disposal. Every element in use helps create a context which creates a reality where magic lives.

Just like the magician, you create the context in which other people perceive you. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you wear, etc. creates the context in which people can understand you.

Once you realize you are in control of how you are presenting yourself to the world, you can start taking ownership for the results you are getting (or not).

…for logical assumptions…

“I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.” ~Charles Darwin

The magician shows a coin in his right hand, drops it in his left hand and closes his fingers around it into a fist. With the wave and snap of his fingers the coin vanishes.

Magic!

Your eyes saw the coin in his right hand, and watched the hand turn over above his left palm. You know the coin drops into the left palm because gravity is a fundamental force of nature. Logical.

And that’s where the magician leads your mind astray.

It’s logical to assume that if you turn your hand over, the coin will fall to the floor.

What’s not logical is to think a person has spent 20 years learning how to hold a coin with the muscles of the hand in a way to make it look empty from above.

The magician doesn’t announce, “Behold, my empty right hand!” He just behaves in a way (creating the context) that would make you think it’s empty (logical assumption).

If he were to state “My right hand is empty” he knows you would immediately challenge him immediately. Instead, he behaves as if the hand is empty, your mind tells you it’s empty, and you believe it. After all, why would you lie to yourself?

To help us navigate the world, our minds help build guidelines and general rules about how the world works (like gravity will make a coin fall from an open hand when turned over), and uses these as shortcuts to decision making.

These assumptions operate at a level that precedes conscious thought. You aren’t even aware that your mind is doing that for you. If you want to discover what kind of assumptions you’re working with, look to the major points of conflict in your life. You’ll be sure to find beliefs and ideas about what is true about the world that is out of alignment with reality.

The most powerful way to change your perception of the world is to challenge your beliefs and fundamental assumptions about reality. It can be uncomfortable, but if you want change in your life, you’re going to need to work on the assumptions that are dictating your reality.

…that are later shown to not be true…

In the example of the coin disappearing, your assumptions about coins dropping towards the floor creates a narrative in your mind that tells you that the coin is now in the magician’s left hand.

The more you trust your own conclusions (based on “logical” assumptions) and the longer you hold those beliefs, the stronger the magical effect will be when it’s revealed that things aren’t how you thought they were.

In the context of a magic show, this experience is fun. It makes people laugh, clap, and gasp with wonder.

In the context of the real world, this experience can be devastating. You thought you had the contract and your client (seemingly) suddenly goes with another agency. You thought your partner was faithful, and you find out they’re not.

The list can go on forever.

And, it can be incredibly empowering.

You thought you couldn’t depend on anyone else, but the whole community shows up to help you (The plot behind, “It’s a Wonderful Life”).

Things aren’t always as they seem, and if you find yourself in a reality where things don’t match up with how you thought they are, then it’s your assumptions that need revising.

Conclusion

That’s the secret to magic and success.

Context is everything, your assumptions dictate your perception of reality, and sometimes life isn’t what it seems (and that can be a great thing!).

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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to leave a comment, or message me directly. I read everything that comes through the inbox.

Let’s start a conversation.