- You’re not as rich as you want to be.
- You’re not as attractive as people on Instagram
- You’re not as respected as that guy on TikTok who can fart National Anthems.
Modern life is an onslaught against our personal confidence.
And should you rise slightly above the line, you’ll be greeted by the rest of society who are happy to pull you down for any little mistake or faux pas that you should make.
At your request, today’s blog post is NOT REALLY to do with magic - but more to do with life.
Let’s talk about confidence…
#1. DESTROYING THE MYTH ON CONFIDENCE
I’m not a male model, I don’t have a 6-pack and I’ve been referred to as “Matt Damon’s ugly brother.”
Okay, they used a different word to ‘ugly’ but I have to keep this post relatively tame.
Despite all that, people would describe me as confident.
You see the first thing you need to know about confidence, is that it can have it despite your insecurities.
Believe it or not, everyone, no matter how rich or beautiful, hates something about themselves. It could be their teeth, their lack of style or their medical condition that they think EVERYONE is silently making fun of… and maybe they are.
But none of that will stop you from exuding confidence if you follow the rules I’m about to outline below.
#2. FAILURE IS TEMPORARY
If you have low or no confidence, that’s not the problem.
“It’s actually a crippling fear of failure and rejection that’s holding you back.”
Evolutionarily speaking, it’s important to fit in to your tribe. Rejects were exiled and that often meant death.
But in this modern, internet-enabled world, there are unlimited tribes for you to join. Some good, some bad.
As long as it’s not deeply immoral or illegal, you shouldn’t fear making mistakes or failing at something. Failure & rejection are a normal part of life.
When I was 18 and started to go to the club, I was obese & wouldn’t dance. I was so scared of what people would think.
I saw a schoolmate, Ryan, dancing like a maniac. He wasn’t good, but he was having a great time. A better time than me.
I asked him “How do you get the confidence to dance like that, when people are looking at you?”
“Who cares what they think? I may never see these people again.” he said.
I was the one who had the problem, because my fear of rejection and humiliation in front of people I didn’t know was holding me back. Maybe similar fears hold you back?
The important thing to remember is that while you think everyone is fixated on your insecurities & failures, they’ll probably busy thinking about themselves.
“You'll stop caring what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” - David Foster Wallace
Let’s say you ask a girl/guy out and they say no. They may think about it for a day - and then move on.
So if you can do the same and let rejection or failure be temporary, you’ll be bulletproof.
#3. NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU
Another factor in your lack of confidence is assuming everyone has to like you. You could ‘outwardly’ be the nicest person ever - and people would still find a reason to hate you.
Everyone is the hero of their own story, so no matter what the truth is, be prepared for some people to hate you anyway.
That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or that you are wrong in any way.
Some people prefer Coca-Cola, some prefer Pepsi. It’s subjective, like all of life.
Don’t believe me?… Even murderers get fan mail.
#4. MAGIC GIVES YOU STATUS
Many people get into magic to build confidence. They may not be great at anything in school, so magic gives them a unique identity.
Maybe that’s you? A lot of magicians have the same story.
Doing what nobody else can do, gives you status among a crowd.
- The strongest is respected.
- The smartest is respected.
- The most impressive talent (yours) will be respected.
By doing what nobody else around you can do, you create an aura of intrigue & go up in status.
My only concern with this is that some people rely entirely on magic as their identity. They treat magic as their only source of confidence for the rest of their lives.
You can definitely use magic to build confidence in the short-term, but over the years, you should rely less and less on ‘magic’ as your identity and personality.
You should walk into a room and get people to like you BEFORE they find out you can do magic.
As the bar graph demonstrates, magic fills in for a lack of confidence in the short-term, but should only add to your existing confidence after a few years.
#5. Invisible Charisma
I don’t know if I read this somewhere, or if it’s one of those things I’ve heard from an old mentor.
“The secret to charisma is to be more interested, than you are interesting.”
So let me put it into context for you…
Someone you meet at a party says “Omg you do magic, that’s so cool.”
Ask them what they do, and they may dismiss it as “Oh nothing. I’m just an accountant.”
DO NOT MOVE THE CONVERSATION BACK TO YOU.
Ask them any follow-up questions, like:
- How did you get into that?
- Have you always been naturally great with numbers, or does it take a lot of hard work?
- If someone was to give you some statements & spreadsheets to look over, would you be able to easily spot financial crimes?
- Are there any legal tax loopholes that accountants know, that regular people don’t?
Your goal here is to NOT talk about how amazing you are. Make THEM feel amazing.
Team E’s Oban Jones always makes fun of me for asking Uber drivers ‘unnecessarily deep’ questions.
But I guarantee I’ve shook more hands and made more impact than 90% of other riders. Because I’m interested in them. Their life, their hobbies & the craziest stories they’ve got from driving Ubers.
I don't just ask them if they've had a busy night.
By being more ‘interested’ in others you give off invisible charisma. People will treat you well and that will lead to more confidence naturally.
#6. YOUR ONE GOOD THING
The first thing to do is to amplify an aspect of yourself that you do like. I happen to have a nice voice. I’ve been complimented on it many times.
So when I first started to build my own confidence I listened to a ton of audiobooks, built my vocabulary & ‘hammed-up’ my accent when speaking to people in public.
A “fake it til you make it” kind of approach.
This exaggeration of one aspect of yourself will help you to feel confident & speak to more strangers.
Maybe you’ve got great personal style? Awesome. Buy that new jacket you’ve been looking at and wear it everywhere.
“But I don’t like anything about myself” you cry.
That’s okay, what do other people compliment you on? Your hair? Your violin playing? Your pottery skills?
People with low, or no confidence focus on the bad aspects of themselves.
Force yourself to pick one good thing that you love about yourself.
#7. HEALTH & PERSONAL HYGIENE
You know those guys in nightclub toilets who sing “no spray, no lay.”
Crude as it is, they’re onto something…
When you smell good, you feel good. Couple that with looking good - and you’ll exude confidence.
- You don’t have to be shredded, but maybe you can lose 5lbs?
- You don’t have to give up black coffee, just carry a packet of gum.
- You don’t have to shower 3x per day, but deodorant & a nice fragrance is a MUST.
These may seem like trivial and obvious suggestions - but for anyone who’s been on public transport, you know personal hygiene isn’t always adhered to.
It’s such a low bar to get over, but you’ll be shocked at how many times you’re complimented for ‘smelling good’ or looking like ‘you’ve lost some weight’.
Those compliments will go straight into the confidence tank and fill it up nicely.
#8. DRESS WELL
People mistake ‘dressing well’ for ‘owning expensive clothes’. This is so far from the truth.
High street stores like H&M can provide you with incredible personal style for pennies. Even if you shop end of season sale items - and just wear them next year.
The most important thing is to buy clothes that fit well. Not too big, not too small.
If you’re a thiccc gentleman like myself, maybe throw on a layer, like an overshirt or nice jacket.
Let’s say goodbye to the magician’s trope of a waistcoat over a t-shirt. Or a trilby hat & t-shirt combo.
A plain black t-shirt & well-fitting jeans looks good on literally everyone. Throw in a standard pair of boots and you'll look a million bucks.
#9. SUCCESS BEGETS SUCCESS
Begets means to generate something. Success creates more success.
In this way, confidence becomes a snowball effect. The more you build confidence, the easier you’ll find it to build confidence.
You need to put yourself in the position of small wins. Which mentally makes it easier for you to take more risks & potentially, get bigger wins.
How you feel about yourself is your own limiting belief. Because it holds you back from taking any chances.
Let’s put it into the context of asking someone out on a date. You may worry that you’ll get rejected - but remember what I told you. Not everyone will like you. No matter how nice you are.
So that rejection isn't always about you. Don't allow it to cut you to your core.
From 10 Tinder matches, 7 may ignore you. 3 may respond. 1 may give you their number and arrange a date. That’s not 9 failures. That’s 1 win.
Now you’ve seen that you CAN in fact win, you won’t fear rejection so much and you’ll be open to speaking to more people. Potentially getting more numbers and going on more dates.
The way you carry yourself can display confidence.
I’m sure it’s a made-up percentage, but it’s said that 66% of communication is non-verbal. Whatever the truth, it’s not an insignificant number.
You see a mugshot of a serial killer and you know they’re a bad dude. It’s instinctual.
So seeing a hunched over, head-down guy at the mall - you can guess their level of confidence.
Kyphotic (bent over) postures are sometimes subconsciously signalling a desire to ‘hide’ or go ‘unnoticed’.
The opposite to that is to stand tall, sit tall and increase the space you exist in. It will unconsciously signal confidence to others - and build yours naturally over time.
#11. SELF-AWARENESS & THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Let’s talk about ways to leverage actual flaws.
I’m a fussy eater. At restaurants, I always apologise to the wait-staff before I make my order. I smile about it and make a joke or two.
This self-awareness is appreciated by them - and I get treated better than being un-aware but still difficult.
Always address the elephant in the room. It creates respect through self-awareness.
Let’s say you’ve gone to get your hair cut, but maybe you don’t smell great, as you’ve come straight from the gym. SAY IT.
“Sorry, I probably smell like a bin bag. I’ve come straight from the gym, as I’m trying to squeeze everything in today.”
When you leave, you won’t be judged as that smelly guy. But if you’d said nothing, you probably would have.
People treat you nicer when you’re self-aware - and they often dismiss your flaws and quirks as something they never even noticed.
Their dismissal of something you were self-conscious about often helps you to realize that how you see yourself and how others see you, can sometimes be totally different. Thus, building your confidence.
#12. BONUS: CAN IT BE APPLIED TO MAGIC?
A lot of DM’s or emails we get are about a magician’s lack of confidence to even PERFORM the effect they’ve purchased.
- “What if they catch me?”
- “What if I mess up?”
- “What if they see the gimmick?”
I’ve got some bad news for all of you. It will happen. You are human. Regardless of all the practice in the world, you will have a bad day.
Nobody is infallible.
So it’s not a matter of if, but when. You need to come up with a good way of dealing with this failure.
And maybe you’re not ready yet, to perform to strangers. But close friends is a good place to start. Or family members?
Often, you can just play with cards in a coffee shop and people will come to you.
Address the elephant in the room, regarding your skill level. Self-awareness is endearing.
They say “I saw you playing with cards. Are you a magician or something?”
Just respond with “Oh, I’m not really a magician, I’m a beginner, but I’m trying to learn. This almost never works, but do you mind if I show you a trick?”
That lowering of expectations should take some pressure off you. Now, if it doesn’t work, you said it almost never does. So you can both move on and thank them for their time towards helping you practice.
If it does work, you’re a BEAST and you’ve successfully built your confidence.
Remember, you may never see those people again - and that bad performance won’t ruin their life forever. So it shouldn’t ruin yours.
I’ve been caught before. I’ve produced the wrong card before. I’ve flashed the gimmick before.
The myth for beginners it that they should be perfect before performing. But you only get good by performing.
I can tell you from the inside, going on hundreds of shoots for Ellusionist, that artists you love will make mistakes, or fluff a performance. It’s natural.
They just don’t broadcast it - and they never lose sleep over it. So you shouldn’t either.
Talking of Failing & Never Broadcasting It
Here is a video of Team E's Yannick Barth on the street's of Amsterdam.
He's trying to perform Cipher Pro. German's use full stop (periods) instead of comma's for thousands separator, so the spectator misunderstands his german layout on the phone.
Maybe Yannick gives unclear instructions at the start. Maybe she misunderstands him.
It all goes wrong - and we've kept it in to show you how he doesn't give a f*ck and still gets a great reactions from it.
Found this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below. This was a wild detour that some readers asked for, so if you read it all, we’d love to hear from you. Even if it’s just a “hello”.