I always take time in my lectures to address the fear of making a mistake when performing. This can be a minor technical error or a larger failure – like an entire presentation that falls flat on its face. You can practice for years, you can diligently prepare, you can plan and rehearse – but it will happen and there’s no way around it. The key is to not let such fear paralyze you or stifle your growth as a performer.
In my formal and causal performances, I have more than a few routines in which I take calculated risks (with the possibility of failure) to potentially create a stronger magical moment. I like to refer to these moments as “tiny tragedies”. They serve two purposes – first, they prime my ability to respond to legitimate problems when they occur and second, they allow for real moments of impossibility.
In its simplest form, I might take an educated guess on details of a thought of word or card. I would do this knowing I can ultimately reveal the correct selection - but prior to ACTUALLY knowing the correct answer. The guess adds strength to the final revelation – either by making it seem like I knew something that I truly could not have known OR by setting me up to apparently pull success from the jaws of failure. Either way, I’m building my failure reaction muscle by learning to think more effectively on my feet.
The goal is to reduce the fear and anxiety caused by these tiny tragedies so that I can come through to the other side as a more prepared performer.
"Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise."