In Praise of Professionals

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

Dear friends:

Mayan CalendarWelcome to our new year. And, if you follow the Mayan calendars, to the new B’ak’tun — a term for one of their long cycles, each of which lasts for about 394 solar years. As it turns out, the Mayans never predicted an “end of the world” scenario for the recent turning of their calendar. As it turns out, their calendars track many different cycles, some of which are roughly analogous to our lunar cycles, monthly calendars and solar cycles. And on December 21, 2012, a lot of those cycles all cycled to zero.  What does this mean?  Nothing really.  It is just another system for counting time, not unlike the significance of New Year or midnight.  Once upon a time some human being somewhere decided it would be useful to count time in that way.

Nonetheless – the new year, the new B’ak’tun, the new era – and each and every new day, when it comes right down to it – give us each a chance to begin again. Wise men learn from the past, but are not governed by it.  When you can let the past go, look to your future, and live fully in the present, real magic is possible.  Each one of us has the potential, the real ability, to make each of our wildest dreams a reality. But to do so, we must let go of our old, imagined limiting beliefs, and be willing to re-create ourselves as the ones who will live those dreams.  Jordan Wright is our guest author this month, and he addresses an issue which I KNOW has been one of my own limiting beliefs:  The feeling that I must do it all myself, instead of enlisting the aid of others whenever I could.

In Praise of Professionals!
by Jordan Wright

Jordan WrightIn my travels I meet many magicians, see many websites, am shown many promo videos, and collect countless business cards.  The one glaring issue of everything I see is people trying too hard to make everything themselves. How many of have at one time or another attempted to make our own promotional materials? These days, with every aspect of design accessible on our computers, it is so easy to become caught up in a desire to do everything ourselves just to save a few bucks here and there.  With very little knowledge of graphic design, we can download software to make it easy for us to design our own business cards.  Most of our computers come with free video editing software that gives the ability to edit our own demo videos. Why would we want to pay someone to design our website when there is such an abundance of free and low-cost programs that claim to be easy to use?

The answer is that we pay someone else because they have specialized knowledge. Just because we have the ability to do everything ourselves does not mean we will do the best job.  Hiring a professional who has studied graphic design, video production and marketing will often produce much better results than we could produce on our own, whether it be for business cards, a website, or a demo video.

Everyone has his or her own area of expertise. Just as some magicians excel at card controls, other magicians are excellent at mentalism. Some people’s specialty is graphic design, and they know the process inside and out. By trying to make everything ourselves, we end up taking time away from what we are really good at. And often times things do not turn out the way they would have had we only consulted a professional – someone with specialized knowledge. You end up sacrificing quality by cutting corners.

Many people say that money is tight and they cannot afford to have everything professionally designed. The answer to that is to prioritize – decide what your budget is and what is most important for you to market yourself. Just remember that everything communicates. If your business card has perforated edges and looks homemade, then people will associate that with the quality and value of your work. I have found that the most successful people in the business hire other professionals to ensure that their materials communicate their message most effectively. Know your strengths and leave the rest to the professionals!

Thanks, Jordan! Great advice. I know many people think, “Once I’m successful, I’ll be able to afford to build a great team.” The truth of the matter, though, is that if you don’t build that great team NOW, you may never reach that point of success. Allies and team members support your dreams in so many ways, and they are really essential for success.

Magic & Mystery School Faculty

At the Magic and Mystery School, we are blessed with great team members. Many of you may not realize it, but Jeff, Eugene, Abbi, Larry Hass, Bryce Kuhlman, George Parker and I “get together” every Monday morning in a Google Hangout to discuss the week that will be coming up.  Sometimes we’re joined by Jordan, Tim Wise or Leo Diaz – all valued team members. Each one of us brings different perspectives and different skills to the table, and each one makes invaluable contributions to the quality of all our endeavors, whether those take the form of “Monday Night Mystery School,” on, a new web-site for the school, upcoming classes, touring events where our various members perform and teach…or to this Museletter.

And so, before leaving you to consider what dreams you will realize for yourselves this year, I wanted to take just a moment to say thank you.  First to Jeff and Eugene for dreaming up what has become the McBride Magic & Mystery School.  Then to all those I named above – our “inner circle” who work together to make it all happen.  And, finally, to all of you reading this.  Without your interest and support, we could never do what we do. Each one of you, just by reading these Museletters, or tuning in on Monday evenings, or attending classes, is helping us to make our dream of creating better magic a reality. We are deeply grateful for that support, and for your sharing the dream with us.  Happy New Year!

Tobias Beckwith

PS:  Be sure and check our calendar at for some exciting classes coming soon. We are offering our first ever “Magic for Speakers and Presenters” in March, along with our first 7-Day Master Class of 2013. Sign up now – it’s a great way to commit yourself to your dreams for the New Year!

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