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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » What are the Positives & Pitfalls of this philosophy? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

kidnapped1853
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What do you think are the Positives & Pitfalls of this philosophy? "Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes. Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness. Think of the good jobs you have done. Think of the times when you rose above your average level of performance and carried out an idea or a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed. Hang these pictures on the walls of your mind and look at them as you travel the roadway of life." - James Whistler
funsway
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On the surface this seems a simple statement of "accentuate the positive," and has value, but ...

One problem is the subjective evaluation of "success." SInce most people today are not adept at honest self-appraisal, they will rely on the opinion of other -- even "like count" on facebook, or the opinion of cellphone buddies never met.

For a performing magician, is success measured in applause, repeat billings or the knowledge that perhaps a single person was inspired to be more than they were yesterday? I also find the concept of "average level of performance" as any standard. Each performance should adapt to the the needs and expectations of a particular audience, and therefor be the best possible at that moment." Any concept of "average" implies that some performances are "below par."

Of course, when Whistler wrote this several concepts expressed had a different connotation than today. Consider instead Colin Powell's description of success." (paraphrased) -- success comes for planning, incisive action and learning from failure.

Also, remember that for some in your audience, this will be the last magic effect they will ever see -- for others it is the first. How will they measure the "success" of your actions/efforts? Magic happens in their minds. Success in your own mind may be less important.
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WitchDocChris
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It's good to remember when you subjectively feel you've done well. It's also good to remember when you've delivered below what you find to be acceptable. If one only focuses on the good, they won't learn any lessons from the bad.

No one is perfect, everyone fails sometimes. The thing is a failure can be an extremely valuable learning opportunity, whereas succeeding (in whatever your goal is) doesn't always teach anything other than, "Keep doing that", which can lead to stagnation.
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Dick Oslund
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I think that Ken (funsway) and Chris, have expressed my thoughts, too, and very well!
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danaruns
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Of course we have to learn from failure. That's the whole value in failure: it teaches where success cannot. But "hanging failure on the walls of your mind" is destructive, I think. We learn from failure and move on; we do not focus or obsess over it. Doing so destroys confidence and halts progress.

Hanging success on the walls of our mind gives us vision and confidence to be our best. Are we our successes or our failures? How you answer that will define the kind of performer you are.

Beneath the conscious mind, beneath the subconscious mind, lies the unconscious mind. You can picture the unconscious mind like a guy sitting at a control panel in a room without windows. The controls he operates control our body. He needs messages as to what he should do with our muscles and bodily functions, and without windows how does he get them? He has a TV screen. On the screen he receives images from the conscious mind. Whatever he sees on the screen, he tries to make come true. If he sees images of a flawless performance, that is what he then causes the muscles to do. On the other hand, if he sees images of failure, he tries to make that come true.

The unconscious mind does not make evaluations or judgments about the merits of any particular action. It merely takes its instructions from the conscious mind and tries to fulfill them.

Example: Set a 2x4 on the ground, and you can walk its length a hundred times without falling off. But suspend it between two tall buildings, and you'll be lucky to make it ten feet before falling to your death. Why? Because when it's suspended in the air your conscious mind hangs fear of falling on its walls, which the unconscious mind interprets as instructions. When you are thinking of falling, there is no way you can make it across safely. Your unconscious mind will work to make your worst fears a reality, as it makes no judgments about the instructions it receives.

When we hang our greatest successes on the walls of our mind, we inspire both our conscious and unconscious minds to succeed at ever higher levels, as we focus on and unconsciously try to replicate or exceed our greatest feats. When we hang failure on those walls, we focus and unconsciously try for failure.

Failure is a pamphlet to be read and discarded once we have obtained the valuable information it contains. But the things we hang permanently, the things we celebrate, the things we concentrate on and which inspire us, are our greatest successes. That is, at least until we reach new heights and greater successes, and then we hang those.

Which is more inspiring of confidence, focus on failure or on success? Confidence is a fundamental element of good performances.

Let not failure be more than a substitute teacher. Let success be your inspiration, your guide, and your identity.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Dannydoyle
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I have generally thought of failure as a temporary state. A transitional time until success manifests itself through hard work.

Obviously reality must intrude, but as a mindset that is how I think of it.
Danny Doyle
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WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On May 22, 2018, danaruns wrote:
Are we our successes or our failures? How you answer that will define the kind of performer you are.


We are neither.

I don't focus on failures, nor do I focus on successes. I focus on the performance/task at hand, and learn from what I've completed to improve the product I'm offering.

Failures tend to teach more, but I don't hold on to it. I make adjustments and move forward. Hanging on to the past doesn't really do anyone any good in my opinion, it only increases the chances of stagnation.
Christopher
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landmark
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People need different things at different times. That's what teaching--and self-teaching--is about.

Especially at the beginning stages of any artistic endeavor, many do not have the strength of ego to focus on their negatives. They will probably make more progress establishing their strengths at first, rather than focusing on the negatives. Often what is needed more than anything else is the simple permission to do it.

As they get better, however, if they wish to achieve more artistically or commercially (and there's nothing wrong if they decide they do not) then at some point they are going to have to deal with their current limitations. And the only way to do that is to try and fail, and study and fail better, until the limitation is overcome.

But I think overall, most of the time the strengths are not maximized; and it is when you understand where your strengths can take you, that you get the appetite for correcting your errors.
landmark
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Quote:
On May 22, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
I have generally thought of failure as a temporary state. A transitional time until success manifests itself through hard work.

Obviously reality must intrude, but as a mindset that is how I think of it.


That is such a great attitude to have. Sometimes it takes a long time to learn that--because at the beginning you don't always know that failure isn't forever. Or you think that if you don't get it after two tries it must be impossible. It takes experience to know the diffrence between "time to keep working on it" and "time to adjust or compensate some other way." At the beginning most misjudge--"my hands are too small to palm a card," and so on.
Dannydoyle
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I have from the start had trouble with card moves or most magic moves. I'm 6'5" and about 270 with hands the approximate size of Rhode Island. Cards are hard to see in my hands. Plus when it said to use whichever finger, that finger was never near the deck.

Combine this with the little problem of being left handed and it is a good idea to make friends with temporary failure. I was fortunate that Charlie Schulien suffered from these self same problems and it was easy for him to teach me.

But my whole life I have made these adjustments from bow and arrow to knives and firearms. So the mindset is essential.

This is also why I would be a HORRIBLE magic teacher!
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Alan Wheeler
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Remember what Doc Eason said in one of his Recipe for Success segments. When receiving a compliment such as "You are the best magician I have ever seen," don't gobble it up, feeding the ego, but rather put it in the back pocket for the next experience of failure. Since the momentary highs and lows fluctuate, use them to balance one another. Smile
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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landmark
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I like that, thanks. That reminds me of what a friend of mine once said to me: Plan for your bad times in your good times. That really stuck with me.
Dannydoyle
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Usually when people say things like that it is just them expressing thank you.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Brad Burt
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If you don't have a lot of failures next to your name, it just means that you really aren't doing much of anything.
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mysticmelville
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Danny,
I really like when you wrote "I have generally thought of failure as a temporary state".
My background is as a portrait painter. I always remember an old tutor of mine saying something similar it relation to the painting process. The majority of the books on "how to paint" do not teach a thing about how to get out of trouble if the painting goes wrong. He would say "everything in life is a little chaotic, it only matters how you respond to it"
Anyway he was a favourite teacher of mine as he was both optimistic and still very grounded.
danaruns
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Just heard this: "Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

Image


Seems consistent with the statement in the OP.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
ChrisPayne
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Of course Winston Churchill was at war, which hopefully does not describe our relationship with our audiences!

Surely remembering successes keeps us motivated, while paying attention to failures helps us improve.
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