So what is the biggest killer of your guitar progress? I’m not a life coach or a self-help guru, but I do believe I’ve identified one of if not the largest culprit of progress death. Of course, this won’t apply to everyone because everyone's personality is different, but I think this will be true for the majority of people. And besides, it’s good advice no matter who you are.
Here it is…
Negativity! Whether you believe you can or can’t do something, you are right.
This is particularly true when it comes to things like playing an instrument. If you don’t believe you can play the guitar the way you want to, then what will be the point of putting in all of that practice? If you do believe that you can play the way you want, then all of a sudden you have a legit reason to invest your time into practicing and learning new things.
I have a great personal example of this. About 23 years ago, I saw a Doc Watson guitar instructional VHS tape. He was playing the song “Windy and Warm” and I had this thought. “That’s awesome! But I’ll never be able to play like that.” Little did I know that those thoughts would put a self-fulfilling prophecy in motion for the next two decades. I've had the sheet music for this song for a LONG time, and I tried to learn it several times to no avail.
Fast forward to last week. I got fed up with not knowing this song, so I decided to put the negative thoughts out of my mind and choose to believe that I can learn this song. Well, let’s just say that there will be a new video coming pretty soon for the song “Windy and Warm”. I don’t have the entire thing down yet but it’s almost there and it’s sounding pretty good!
Call it what you want, The Law of Attraction, Positive Professions/Confessions, or I Can Do All Things Through Christ. The main idea is that if you believe you can learn something new on the guitar, you will be able to learn it. It will take hard work and some time, but you will be able to do it. If you don’t believe you can play something, then you probably won’t be able to play it. Heck, you will probably never even start to try learning it!
So I have a challenge for you this week. Keep an ear out for any negative thoughts running through your head as it relates to your guitar playing. Whenever you hear one, make a conscious decision to put that thought away and replace it with a positive thought instead. Pick something you’ve always wanted to learn this week and go for it! Let me know how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need help with anything specific, you can book a private lesson with me here on the site.
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Need advice on strings, picks, and other guitar gear? Here is the gear used in this video.