Maybe you have?
Maybe it’s by someone you know closely, or that you used to call a friend.
When something of yours is seemingly stolen, it makes you reflect on your own behaviour.
- Do you trust too many people with your secrets?
- Do you assume your friends will never change (for the worse)?
- Do you expect people’s integrity to be stronger than the allure of money?
“Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, whereas economics represents how it actually does work.” - Stephen Dubner
Magic creates instant status.
You walk into the room as a nobody and within a few tricks, you walk out as a somebody.
That reward creates an incentive for stealing methods, presentations & styles.
It’s human nature. If you create an incentive, you’ll create someone willing to steal or cheat their way towards it.
So as a magician, how can you reconcile this behaviour in others? How can you protect your hard work?
In short, you can’t.
Your expectations of what’s right are rooted in morality, whereas the outcome is rooted in economics.
The best solution is to cut them off and make your inner circle smaller.
Those people are suckling at your teat for sustenance - but when you cut them off, they’ve now got a mouthful of milk to last them a lifetime.
As non-producers, these people can only copy what they can consume.
So if you’re worried about being ‘stolen’ from again, then you could become a hermit & not share your work at all.
But that isn’t a great solution... and it’s definitely one I battle with constantly. It makes me think…
- Why is the responsibility on me to change my behaviour instead of for others to act with morality?
- Why should I have to insulate ideas in order to keep them sacred?
And the answer to that is... You shouldn’t have to.
But to enjoy all the upside of sharing, you must embrace the downside too.
If you do something good, it’s inevitable that somebody will copy you - or wear your style like a second skin.
Publicity, respect, money or engagement on social media. It’s all part of the status game.
And if you have any status-building ideas at all, someone, somewhere will shamelessly replicate your work to try to replicate your success.
The only solace for you is that deep down, you know that you can innovate - and they can only replicate.
“Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.” - Eric Thomas