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Brad Burt
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In another forum I answered a question via PM. I reworked the question and answer for my own mailing list and now I want to post it here. It is not an uncommon thing to have 'nerves' before performing even if for only one person. The nice thing although this may sound odd at first is that the 'reason' or 'reasons' for this performance anxiety do NOT matter! The only thing that matters is whether or not there is a solution a way to get beyond the discomfort and hopefully put it aside.

In a moment I am going to cut and paste my 'solution' to this problem. Some of you know....probably because I noted it elsewhere that I ran four different magic schools over a 20 year period. We are talking thousands of students many of whom suffered
from stage fright, performance jitters, whatever you wish to call it to one degree or another. I cam up with the following method to help virtually anyone who suffers from this malady. Although YOU may not have a problem you may know someone else who does. Pass the info along. Cut and paste it if you like. I don't even care in this case whether I get credit or not. I'VE BEEN THERE AND it's a dreadful place to be if you like performing magic! This method WORKS!! Here we go.......

"Your problem is NOT that you are nervous and anxious...your problem is WHAT those states produce in your performance. This is vitally important for you to get: Many of us, including myself, can be nervous during a performance. That's not the problem. It's the "control" that you give up that's the problem. You HAVE to take the "nerves" if you will and transform the juice it gives into something else. The EXACT same chemicals in your brain that cause you the misery of stage fright are the EXACT same chemicals that cause you to feel madly in love with someone! How's that for weird? It's YOUR reaction to what the chemicals are telling you that's the problem

What you need to do is reprogram your reactions to what happens when you perform and I'm going to tell you how to do that.

What you need to do is this: Select the one trick that you have that ALWAYS works for you. You might want to use tricks like the Thumb Tip Vanish of a silk, Scotch and Soda or Two Ones to a Two. I mean I want you to get as close to a SURE FIRE success trick as you can find.

Do ONLY that trick from now on. Do ONLY that trick until you are so comfortable that in virtually any situation you work you get a good response AND you FEEL successful and GOOD. Got the idea? Don't take a short cut here.

Once you can do this trick at any time without the feelings of anxiety that are a problem now, then add ONE new trick to the mix. Not necessarily a 'new' trick to you, but the next most successful trick you do, etc. Now, do your little two trick 'act' until you are constantly successful with it.

And, so on. Don't fall into the trap of being successful with your one trick, getting asked to do more and doing so. That's the way of madness. Just beg off, saying something like, "I am under strict orders from my magic doctor NOT to do more than one great trick per day right now." Or, whatever works for you. These folks are the ones you can do your next 'one' trick for, etc.

If you do what I have above, I can virtually guarantee that within months or even weeks of now you will be just fine.

Right now what's happening is that your Body Language is tipping your moves even though you aren't aware of it. The problem with stage fright is that it has YOU wanting to do just the opposite of what you really want to do. That is, it has you wanting to RUN away from your audience. You have to reprogram your responses by working to ensure success even if it is in SMALL increments at first.

That's it. It is a behavior oriented way to desensitize yourself to what it is that makes you anxious when you want to perform. It works. Look, you may not need anything like this, but you may know someone who does. Pass it along. It may not help, but it can't hurt. And, many times just having a 'plan' will make all the difference."

Take care and all the very best,
Brad Burt
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