What makes a professional and an amateur in magic two different beasts? The difference is vast, and sometimes, I wonder which is the happier of the two. An interesting aspect is to view this in the context of the information overload.
The amateur has all the freedom in his magic life: buying the newest books, props, tricks and gimmicks. Collecting stuff. Visiting conventions. Attending lectures and clubs. All for his enjoyment, and without pressure. She/he can learn, tryout, experiment with the weirdest techniques, and discuss them (and the connected thoughts) in the magic forums at length.
The professional is in a different position. She/he must wisely choose the material that should be added to the repertoire or not. No time for fluff. Efficiency is one of the main factors. Will this enhance my act? Will it bring the expected audience reactions? Is the investment bringing back what I am hoping for? Therefore, the professional doesn’t care for most of the stuff on the market. Professionals don’t stuff their mind with useless and unnecessary information. They focus totally on the very essence, on the important things for their livelihood.
Some food for thought here. There is a certain “midpoint”, a “point of no return”, which clearly marks a point where more information is useless. In the beginning, the accumulation of knowledge will bring you to a certain point. Of course, the price you have to pay is the time, energy and money you have to invest. But then, there comes a point where your knowledge will no longer grow, but — the opposite — shrink. Amazing, but true, and not only in magic.
The idea is to keep the balance and not pass over the midpoint. It took me a long time to find out where my midpoint was. That was when I discovered the solution to this dilemma:
Stop putting the accent on the quantity of information you collect, and focus on the quality of the (fewer) information you absorb.
This information diet definitively helped me in finding my way and living a happier (and more professional) magic life.