Magic can be somewhat selfish. I admit it. Even when you do pro-bono work there is an element of personal gain/selfishness. You do an effect and someone smiled or laughed – “I made them do that, go me!”
Today, we said goodbye to a student, a friend, and a classmate. She is going back to London with her family. The girls were in tears. Red, puffy eyes with snotty noses and I had to teach those faces geography??? Not gonna happen I’m afraid! So what did I do to cheer them up: Magic (Whoever said “You read a poem to them Greg” really needs a “warm klap” (loosely translated from Afrikaans as “a huge hiding”). And low and behold, the tears magically disappeared and out came the smiling faces and giggling girls that I know. Yes I felt good, yes maybe there was an element of selfishness but I believe that when something else, for example in this case making sad girls happy, is more important and overrides any personal gain from an effect(s), then it is perfectly okay to feel a little good about yourself.
Doing magic has to make the performer feel good, no, fantastic. Otherwise what’s the point in performing? But if that is the ONLY reason you perform or if that is the ONLY outcome from your performances, then I might say that you need to rethink why you do magic. However if the goal is to share your passion with others and help them benefit from your skill, because ultimately you are doing the magic and give the illusion that the spectator is doing it, then you are doing a good thing in my books. Then you can take that personal gain and say “I deserve it because I’m sharing my happiness with others.”
Those girls for those twenty minutes were not thinking about a best friend leaving them, and that means I succeeded.
When you perform for others, do not underestimate how important your magic is because you NEVER know what baggage your spectators are carrying, all you know is that however long you perform for – you are giving them an ‘out’, an opportunity to leave their personal issues at the door.