The Magic of Focus

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
– Alexander Graham Bell

Dear Friends:

As I write this Jeff and Eugene and most of our faculty are off to host a teen workshop at this year’s combined IBM/SAM national convention in Louisville. I hope many of you reading this will see them there.  Jeff will be leaving the convention early, as he is booked to appear at FantasyCon in Salt Lake City July 3-5. And so it has fallen to me to write you all today.

Tobias Beckwith

Many of you are already aware that I recently released my new book Beyond Deception, Vol. 2: From the Wizard’s Corner. It’s a collection and expansion of my “Wizard’s Corner” segment on our Monday Night Mystery School show (www.mcbridemagic.tv). At this point, the book has been out just under 2 months, and it has been receiving some nice feedback.  But I’m not here to pitch the book.

I’m more interested in talking about focus. That’s what was required to get the book finished and published.  For an hour or two every day for several months, I set aside time just to work on that project. No matter what else happened, I managed to spend at least one hour focusing intently on the book…until it was completed. And that kind of focus is just what you need, too, in order to complete whatever that big project you’ve been dreaming about – whether it’s a new effect, a book of your own, or your own show.

So, I thought I’d share a bit that’s from Beyond Deception, Vol. 2 with you today. As it happens, it’s all about the importance of focus in our work as magicians. I hope you’ll be inspired:

I remember when I first met Eugene Burger over the phone as we were planning the first Mystery School.  I had read one or two of his books, and had begun teaching myself to do magic again, after some 20 years away from it.  I remember telling Eugene, “I’ve got about 20 tricks I can do reasonably well again…of course it’s not like what a real professional could do.”

“Oh?” said Eugene. “I’ve finally got my working repertory down to 15 tricks.  I’ve been thinking of I could get it to just 12, I could be really good!”

That was 20 years ago, and I’ve learned a lot from Eugene and many others since then.  One of the biggest things is that finding one or two things that really inspire you,  and giving them your full focus is a far better strategy for success than trying to pursue a hundred different paths.

As we say in some of our advertising for the Magic & Mystery School:  You probably already have too much magic stuff.  Tricks, gimmicks, etc.  You probably know too many tricks, have too many books and videos – and most of you are still wondering why you haven’t hit the big time in terms of your success.

Why not take just one thing, one short piece, and work on that piece until it is the best version of that piece in the world.  Perhaps it will have a more creative or moving story.  Perhaps it will be more deceptive and magical than anyone else’s presentation of that effect.  Maybe you will just become the best performer of that effect, engaging with your audiences more fully and effectively than anyone else.  But just one such finished, polished, “best in class” piece can make all the difference.

Think for a moment of how it feels to be that person who knows and can perform 100 tricks…all just adequately.  How do friends and audience respond?  How do you feel being barely good enough when performing?  Do you think that is the best way to serve the art form you’ve chosen?

Then think of how it must feel to know you have just performed one thing better than anyone else in the world has ever done.  How will you stand, talk, sleep at night, knowing you are the absolute BEST at that one thing?

There’s only one way to reach that state…and it is through intense, laser-like focus on one thing.

End of excerpt. If you want to read more: http://tinyurl.com/mq8nokn

It’s that time of year: Magic Festival and Convention time! Jeff has just returned from Spain, where his performances received standing ovations at the 33rd Congreso Mágico Nacional in Cáceres. He also spent time hosted by Angel Vicente, exploring the very rich magic scene in Madrid.

Jeff McBride in Spain

Later this month, Jeff will be visiting a different kind of magic festival: first, the Starwood Festival in Ohio, and then Illumination, in Ohio. If you’re amongst the fire circle festival crowd, you’ll already know about these — and if you’re not, but are interested, I’ll just suggest you Google them.

In between festivals, Jeff will be taking his full evening show to The Orleans in a rare Las Vegas booking that’s open to the general public. The booking is sponsored by the Hypnothoughts Live Conference, organized by our friend, Richard Clark. If you live in Vegas, or will be visiting in mid-July, this is your chance to catch Jeff’s full show on a major casino showroom stage. Not to be missed! Click here to buy tickets now. (http://www.orleanscasino.com/entertain/event-calendar).

As part of the Hypnothoughts Conference, Jeff will also be lecturing, and offering a special one-day workshop on Magic & Mentalism for Hypnotists, co-taught by Richard Nongard. Learn more and get registered here: http://www.htlive.net/jeff-mcbride-richard-nongard/

OK… that’s it for now. Now, go and focus on whatever YOU need to do to help you lift your magic to the next level. I’m off to rehearse one of the pieces from my “The Wizard’s Way” talk myself. Jeff will be back for the mid-July Muse.

Till then, enjoy a fantastic and festive summer!

Magically yours,
Tobias Beckwith
tobias@yourmagic.com