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It's me, Tim. I'm back with my blog that aims to help improve your practice. This week, I want to show you how the word 'yet' can help you believe in yourself.
Practice is a game of belief. If I hadn’t seen my friend perform a muscle pass, I wouldn’t have had the mental fortitude to continue squeezing my palm together until I could make coins fly. It is the same with learning anything hard. There has to be underneath all of the hours of practice an underlying, energizing thought - ‘I CAN do this’.
Apparently, when making the lightbulb Thomas Edison failed nearly 3,000 times! Where do you get that belief from? I would have given up after five attemps and gone back to tweeting by candle-light.
Fortunately, a psychologist by the name of Dr Carol S Dweck has written a whole book on fostering the attitude needed for achievement. It's called Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential. To reduce an excellent book to an oversimplified sentence: those who believe ability isn’t fixed achieve more.
The words 'talent’ and ‘genius’ speak of something fixed, solid, unmovable. However, Carol dismantles these words and shows that you’re less like an unmoveable, talentless stone and more like a hopeful jelly: flexible and fun at parties. All you have to do is believe in yourself. Obviously, there are limits to the power of belief: If you’re super tall, you probably won’t be picked for the world limbo championships. All of this aside, believing you can improve helps you do so.
The implications this has for magic are obvious. Many people don’t touch a coin because they believe it’s too hard and something they could never do. This was me five years ago. For the first 10 years of my magical life I didn’t touch a coin. Then, I worked closely with a coin magician and saw with my own two eyes that it was possible. This gave me the courage to try. I can now do things that I never thought were possible for little old me.
While reading Mindset or meeting someone who is doing the thing you want to do can help change your beliefs, there is an easier and quicker way of fostering this powerful mindset. In fact, it can be done with a single word: ‘yet’.
When you’ve dropped the coin for the hundredth time, and the inner voice says, ‘I can’t do this,’ add the word ‘yet’ to the end. ‘I can’t do this yet’. It completely changes the phrase and adds a hopeful–dare I say optimistic–slant. It suggests that you’re not the finished product. You’re learning and improving. I’ve found this useful when learning a tough routine and when facing problems in life. When you’re struggling with that retention, reach for your friendly neighbourhood word… ‘yet’.
Have you heard of Carol Dweck or this mindset? What are your beliefs on talent? What routines have you struggled with but overcome? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
I hope this simple idea helps! Until next time,