The DANGERS of self-deprecating humour

I’ve never had a big ego.

(I realise that me boasting about my lack of a big ego is quite the boast, but can we agree to gloss over that for a few moments? Thanks.)

When I say that I didn’t have a big ego, that’s putting it mildly.

When I was performing magic, I would put myself down A LOT.

I’m just a chubby guy doing card tricks“, I’d often say to get a quick laugh.

I’d pepper my performance with lines like these. I did it because I thought I was endearing myself to the audience.

I felt like they needed a constant reminder that my head wasn’t up my backside.

This seems a logical way to win people over but, after a while, I noticed something terrible.

My confidence was dipping and I wasn’t valuing myself or my work.


“I’m JUST a normal guy and these are JUST card tricks!”

What the heck kind of message is that to send out about me and my work?

I thought I was being self-deprecating, but I’d gone too far. I’d veered into self-depreciation – putting myself and my craft down, lessening its value.

Self-deprecation is downplaying your achievements.

Self-depreciation is completely obliterating them.

Self-deprecation is looking at your achievements from a different angle. You recognise it, but don’t boast about it.

Self-depreciation is looking at your achievements and erasing all value from them.

I don’t have to be curing cancer, negotiating world peace or working the mayo gun at McDonald’s to be proud of what I do.

I’ve nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I have a lot to be proud of.

People would pay a fortune to have the ability to be able to head confidently into a room filled with strangers. The idea of interrupting small groups of people, and making them laugh for two hours is scary.

It’s not JUST card tricks…

It’s being able to talk to all kinds of people, make them feel comfortable AND get them laughing. That’s bloody hard work!

It’ll be the same for you too. You’ll be doing stuff that you think is “nothing”, but other people find amazing.

Downplay it and joke about it sure, but don’t ever lose sight of the real value and skill you’ve developed.