The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Steps to help Eliminate Approach Anxiety (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jaxon
View Profile
Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
2537 Posts

Profile of Jaxon
I found an article on something called Approach Anxiety (AA). For all of you who are fairly knew to magic and are interested in or have done any kind of strolling magic. You might have experienced Approach Anxiety before. You know. That moment when you are to start strolling a room and you see a group of people but you're not exactly sure how to approach them to start doing your job of entertaining them? That's AA! I know I have and I still do from time to time. I've been into magic for quite some time now so I learned how to deal with it for the most part.

Anyway this article might be helpful to you if you're having any issues with AA. I'll tell you that it wasn't written specifically for magicians but I think the explanation as to why we might experience AA and some of the suggestions for overcoming it are worth giving some thought to. It starts out kind of technical but keep reading for it's explained in more detail and the suggestions to help are at the end.

I had to change some of the wording in the article to try to make it fit for us magicians a little better. You could replace the word "people" in this article for "Your target spectator" or "your target group" to perform for.

Quote:
In our bodies we have thousands of nerves that feed our brain with all kinds of information. Assuming your brain is more or less normal, you will have nerves that tell your brain what physical pain is. When you experience physical pain, your brain receives messages from the nerve endings that something is wrong. The brain responds by sending physical signals to your body to take corrective action (i.e. remove your hand from a hot stove). You also experience emotions attached to this pain which may alter your mental and physical state through hormones. This experience is known as the "flight or fight" response or "acute stress response".

That is where things break down for us humans. You see, the biological response mechanisms became part of our baseline physiology during prehistoric days when survival was much more difficult and responding to emergencies was much more common. Unfortunately, our physical evolution moves at a much slower pace than social evolution. As a society, we have evolved very rapidly from those early days before we invented the wheel. Today we have an incredibly complex society that allows us to communicate without even being present or visible to each other (i.e. you are reading my communication, yet you cannot see me). This creates a social problem because our brains are still "hard-wired" to many of these primal or instinctual traits, but we are forced to conform to social rules not present during early physical evolution.

To help you understand why you may have approach anxiety today, you have to now consider how you have been socially programmed and how this ties into your instinctual traits. You can think of the brain (your memory center) as a continuous feedback loop. In early stages of child development, the brain creates many neural pathways as a result of learning. The brain is trained how to keep you alive by receiving huge amounts of information through your physical senses and creating key pathways that are optimized for survival.

To simplify matters and eliminate all the scientific mumbo-jumbo, think of it this way. Imagine that your brain receives 3 types of information: Good, Bad and Indifferent. In other words, if the information is "good" for survival it is stored in a certain way, "bad" information is stored another way and "indifferent" information still another way. By organizing the information this way, your brain then tells you how to behave to increase your chances for survival. This is the critical part and is where peopele find themselves "broken". The "learned" behaviors have resulted from our experiences with life that have told us that "we will increase our chances for survival if we avoid rejection". This anti-rejection pattern of learned behavior is extremely complex and also very common. The truth is that most people have a learned fear due to social programming from our childhood years that was instilled before the (average) age of 12 or 13. After that age, we end up reinforcing this trait (e.g. fear) by our own behavior. We avoid strangers and it makes us feel better instantly. Approaching people throws off signals from the brain that tell us we are in "danger" and we respond by retreating. The simple act of patterning ourselves to retreat gets reinforced over and over many times until it is so deep in our behavioral pattern that we start to rationionalize the behavior. We tell ourselves "I'm just not good enough" or "I got dealt a bad hand of cards".

We begin to tell ourselves lies and we believe them. Our belief system gets screwed up. The sad fact is that the older you get, the harder it is going to be to eliminate this "learned" fear. For you younger lads, you will be much better off overcoming this NOW. For the older gents, you are going to need something else.

Either way, you are all going to need something. Some of you will not be able to swallow this "something" all at once. Others will never get it. Still others will get it so rapidly that they will forget they never had AA in the first place.
This is a generalization, but it holds true at least 90% of the time. If you don't approach people they won't meet you. It's as simple as that.

For the rest of us who are sick of being afraid, I am going to suggest a very simple 3-step program to acquire faith in yourself. The three steps are as follows:

-Increase positive feedback responses
-Initiate a small social connection
-Incrementally increase the depth of your social connections

If you follow these "stepping stones", you may find it easier to eliminate your fear and reduce the "pain" you feel (i.e. the nervous and hormonal response from your brain).

1. Increasing Positive Feedback Responses
This is the first step and the easiest one. It requires very little of you and is almost like a magic pill. How do you increase positive feedback responses? Its simple, all you have to do is smile. Smiling is a common trait of happy people. The trick is that you have to make smiling a habit. That means you need to smile all the time. Even while you are in the shower or alone in your car. You must especially be smiling when you are in social circumstances. So why smile? Because people who smile are more likely to be smiled at. Our brain has automatic neurons that respond to smiling faces. By receiving smiles from other people, we increase our "positive feedback responses". We start the steps to reprogramming our brain and eliminating the social dilemma that has befallen our feeble existance.

2. Initiate a Small Social Connection
This step is pretty easy also. In fact, you can combine it with the first step if you understand why you need to do it. This step also increases your positive feedback responses, but more importantly, it reinforces the new found programming and makes it a habit. The simplest way to "initiate a social connection" is to say "Hi". Pretty simple, right? The trick here is that you are now connecting with someone else. Chances are you will get responses like "hi", "hello", "how are you" and so on. 99.9% of the time you will have made that positive social connection and you will have reinforced the positive feedback response even more. The trick here is to do it all the time. Smile and say "hi" to everyone you see.

3. Incrementally Increase the Depth of Your Social Connections
Obviously, there is a big leap from smiling and saying "hi". You have to look at this as an incremental process that improves over time. After you have gotten really good at steps one and two (i.e. they are habit), you need to start increasing the interaction until you find yourself in full blown conversations. The trick in this step of the process is to move away from superficial interactions to deeper connections. Your conversation, over time, will go from "hi, how are you" and "nice weather we are having" to "that's a really nice dress you are wearing, where did you buy it". The conversations turn into a more "personal" interaction, and making the next steps towards building comfort with the people become much easier for you. As you progress, you will "naturally" find yourself engaging on a personal level and you will do so without fear. It will happen automatically.

To summarize, this 3 step process can eliminate your AA (fear) through a structured "fake it until you make it" process. The steps are intended to be easy to follow. If you find your sticking point is AA, this is one strategy you can employ to overcome this fear, and ultimately acquire faith in yourself.


Hope someone finds this helpful.

Ron Jaxon
Image


After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Jaxon
View Profile
Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
2537 Posts

Profile of Jaxon
Anyone agree? Disagree?
Image


After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
MagiClyde
View Profile
Special user
Columbus, Ohio
871 Posts

Profile of MagiClyde
Actually, Jaxon, this posting actually has some points that completely agree with a theory that I've postulated on the Food for Thought forum entitled Younger = Braver? in which I speculated that some of the best magicians today are the ones who managed to overcome their angst about performing in front of others at an early age.

Quote:
We begin to tell ourselves lies and we believe them. Our belief system gets screwed up. The sad fact is that the older you get, the harder it is going to be to eliminate this "learned" fear. For you younger lads, you will be much better off overcoming this NOW. For the older gents, you are going to need something else.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
evolve629
View Profile
Inner circle
A stack of
3838 Posts

Profile of evolve629
Agreed! It's more Food For Thoughts for the experienced and amateur on this one!
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
wjkrysak
View Profile
Regular user
Atlanta
152 Posts

Profile of wjkrysak
Linear thinking, positive focus. I like this. Will seek to learn more. bill
Create memories to enjoy the magic of life.
Tread lightly. Give. cheaha bill
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Steps to help Eliminate Approach Anxiety (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.23 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL