Jugglers have easily understood and recognizable skill.
There’s no bullshitting when it comes to a juggler. Either stuff is in the air or it’s on the floor. Jugglers can quickly assess the ability and skill level of another juggler. Likewise, the audience can easily see if the juggler is successful and responds accordingly. In contrast, when it comes to a magician’s skill, we can bluff - audiences, other magicians, and sometimes even ourselves.
Jugglers get accolades for their skill.
A juggler does something difficult - he then steps forward and receives his applause. The magician in contrast, often must keep his skill secret. He spends a lifetime mastering a skill that few people are ever aware of. It’s like learning to play an instrument that only a handful of people can hear. Worse yet, if someone accidentally hears it – it means the magician has made a mistake.
The juggler releases energy and works in the moment.
This one is less obvious but it might be the most important. The juggler’s work is physical and allows him to release nervous energy when he is on stage. The physical tension has no choice but to subside. The audience also permits the juggler to be present in his work. The audience understands the work is difficult. His focus on executing challenging moves is not only allowed - it’s expected. These things are far less common in a magic. I think this creates a “looseness” in the way a juggler works. A looseness that becomes even more apparent when contrasted with many magicians.
I have no idea if any of this is objectively true. I also don’t mean to imply that jugglers have it easier than magicians. I just like to look at fields outside of magic and see what they can teach me - sometimes I don’t have to look very far. So what are the lessons?
- Don't bullshit. It can be sensed by an astute audience. It also shows a lack of respect to those that have actually put in the work.
- Be happy in the work. If you’re doing the work for the accolades, you will be disappointed.
- Be present. The anxiety you feel can be navigated by focus and energy on the work before you.
Whether you’re keeping balls in the air literally or figuratively, that seems like some pretty sound advice.