I moved to New York in January to do magic full time with no backup plan. Here are some lessons from the past year:
It’s always the right time, it’s never the right time: If I decided not to run every time I felt a little tired or hungry or sore, I never would’ve put my shoes on. Excuses are easy, especially for hard things. If you want to do something, just do it. Like Stephen Pressfield says: “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.” Saying “the time will be right later” isn’t prudent, it’s procrastination. On paper, professional magic was a terrible idea–I moved to New York with almost no contacts and an empty calendar. But sometimes you just have to send it.
You have no idea what’s coming—don’t pretend that you do. I can't even count the amount of times that I thought I knew what was ahead of me and I ended up being wrong. You also…
…have no idea who’s sitting next to you. As in—be nice to people. You don’t know who other people are connected to, who they want to help, or when they might just want to come to one of your shows.
Likewise, limit your shit talking. See above for why.
Show everyone magic tricks. I learned this lesson from Asi Wind, who showed magic to some unsuspecting waiters at a restaurant one night. They had no idea who they were watching, and it didn’t matter. It made their night. Magic is a gift. Gifts are meant to be given.
Say yes to everything. Two crucial things happened to me this year because I said yes: First, I said I’d do the first Stand-Up Magic in March. Producing this show changed my life. Second, I went to a party where I didn’t know anyone and ended up meeting our host Tess’ sister, who introduced us, and now she's an intergral part of our show. Flying blind is scary but it’s essential. Sometimes you just have to pull up to a party alone.
Say no to everything: There is an inflection point where you’ll be so busy, you have to say no. This is good and healthy. But in the beginning, you need to be a yes machine.
If you peaked in college, it’s your fault. Life is very long. 90 year-olds run marathons. Diana Nyad swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida at age 64 in what is, without question, one of the greatest human accomplishments of all time. Your life is a measure of how hard you try and what you put into the world, not your age.
Always keep emergency thank-you notes in your backpack. This one is simple–I’ve been thanked for thank-you notes. It’s the easiest way to make a good impression.
Meet people in person—everyone laments about how hard this is—yet I have met zero people who WANT to meet people online (this goes beyond romantic relationships). Which means: we’re all in the same boat. Say hi to a stranger. Host a party. We all want connection. Someone’s gotta be brave enough to make it happen.
Worried about why good things aren’t happening to you? Put good into the world. It will ALWAYS come back to you.
Don’t break the spell: the longer I can go without my phone in the morning, the better. I call it "the spell." It’s easily my most productive time, when my head is clearest. The second I turn my phone on, the spell is broken. I try not to break the spell for as long as possible every morning.
Make no small plans. Life is meant to be lived.
Public shows are done for the year, but I have a lot in January in New York and Denver. See you there!