“They can because they think they can” – Virgil
What do you think is the greatest component to you succeeding as a guitarist?
Is it your good looks and charm?
Could it be how long your fingers are?
Is it genetics?
We are going to go through how your mind is the most powerful tool you have and how to use it to ensure you achieve massive results on the guitar. It involves four simple steps that work in a cycle:
1. It all starts with believing you can achieve great results on the guitar.
What is a belief?
A belief is a guiding principle or faith that provides direction in your life. Beliefs can come from different things including:
- Your environment: Encouraging parents and teachers who tell you that you can achieve something, a positive surrounding, or even a negative surrounding that drives you to achieve better so you can get out of there!
- An event: Something inspirational such as a concert you have been to where you saw a badass guitarist, and you thought, “If they can do that, so can I!”
- Knowledge: Reading how other people who came from backgrounds similar to your have achieved the same goals that you have.
- Seeing results: Seeing how you could not do something six months ago and now you can. You know you can apply the same principles to achieve things that you want in the future.
An example of a belief is knowing that by practising the guitar properly for an hour a day doing what your teacher has told you to do exactly, you will improve and achieve your goals much quicker.
2. Your belief drives your potential.
The more belief you have, the more of your potential you will use.
For example, when you go to your guitar lessons and think, “Oh, this is too hard. I cannot do this”, you probably will not try very hard. However, if you are super pumped and positive, you will believe you can do it if you just do what your teacher says and practice. You will try harder and use more potential.
3. When you use more potential, you subsequently have more action.
The harder you want to try, the more of your potential you use. For example, the more of your potential you use, the more hours you allow in your schedule for practising and the more motivation you have for it. The more hours you practise, the more focus you will apply when practising, and you will take it more seriously.
4. The more action you take the bigger results you get
The more you practice, the more you improve—assuming that you are practising the right thing. However, even if you are not, you are more likely to find out that you are making mistakes quicker and correct them than if you did not put the hours in. The quicker you correct mistakes, the quicker you will achieve the results you are after!
These steps go round in a circle like the following diagram:
Once you have seen that you can achieve something that you could not before, the more belief you will have in yourself. Therefore, you will use more potential, causing you to take more action and, consequently, achieve more results!
This principle can be applied to many aspects in life. And is very relevant to guitar playing.
How The Cycle Turns Ugly
The circle can also turn ugly and this is how. And it often happens in either two ways:
- It is often easy to get disheartened when you are learning guitar, especially when you get frustrated and do not practise as much as you should. You may start to think that you are not good enough, which then affects your belief system and causes you to use less of your potential, so you take less action. You start skipping lessons and not practising as hard. The cycle turns vicious.
- You go into the whole thing with a negative mindset to start with. When you do not believe you can learn to play; you think it is too difficult. Therefore, you do not apply yourself, do not take as much action as you should, and get fewer results. Your lack of results reinforces your negative belief system, turning the whole thing bad.
Are You Stuck In a Rut?
Whenever you are stuck in a rut, think, “Do I have the right belief system?” If you do not, think “How can I get myself to believe in my ability to achieve my guitar goals?” Maybe you need to read some inspirational stories, or maybe your teacher is not encouraging you enough. When this happens, maybe you need to change teachers. Alternatively, another way to turn this around is to put in a tonne of action! Commit to yourself that you will try your best, do everything your teacher says, and practice as best as you can. You will then see the improvement. Massive action = Massive result! Seeing improvement will give you a sense of motivation, which will improve your belief in yourself.
Now you know the essential steps to achieving results and how to turn things around if you feel like you are progressing slowly or are stuck with your playing. Your mind is a powerful tool. The more you actively choose to think the right beliefs and take the right actions, the more you cement in your mind how to motivate and discipline yourself to become a great guitar player.