I give advice to other magicians, friends and neighbors. I even give advice to myself, which I don’t often heed. Judging from the way I disregard me, you can imagine how other people value my advice.
I’m not sure if my advice-giving predisposition is an admirable trait. To tell you frankly, I sometimes can’t tell myself. If I could, I wouldn’t be me anymore.
However, over the years, I have mellowed. I have disciplined myself not to give unsolicited advice. The exception is this blog. I write as I please here. It is for the readers either to heed my counsel or ignore it. I could care less.
In the real workaday life, however, I bite my lips, chew my tongue and gnash my teeth every time I feel the urge to give advice. Over the years, I’ve realized my advice would go to waste if given to persons unqualified, reluctant and undeserving to receive it. Not only that, some magicians would resent unsolicited advice, because they regard it as a veiled form of criticism.
My consolation is in knowing that my opinions are sometimes spot on. And since I don’t have the skill of a Philippine Ambassador to couch my words in diplomatic language, I know my thoughts can hurt feelings if I verbalize them. They would do more harm than good to the recipient’s state of mind.
Some magicians think they know everything and don’t need any more inputs from other performers. Worse, they are so set in their ways of doing things that even if they see value in other people’s views they are no longer willing to change.
I follow a different tack. I listen to everybody and harvest nuggets of genius from everyone. I believe every person knows something I don’t.
That’s why I listen even to a tricycle driver expound on how to improve the economy of the Philippines. While I don’t follow his economic advice, I am entertained by someone who is barely able to make ends meet, but has thought up ideas on how to turn the country into a tiger economy.
In the same way, I listen even to beginners in magic tell me, say, how to palm a coin deceptively. Who knows? He may have stumbled upon a still undiscovered sleight, or a move, that I could use.
A long shot, maybe, but gems can sometimes come from unexpected places.