The act of practicing or performing can be a very daunting thing. Most people refer to these as “playing” guitar, but it doesn’t feel like play when you’re all “worked up” about it. Do you feel stressed out when you think about practicing, as if it were a chore or some kind of mountain you don’t know how to climb? How about performing in front of people? Thinking and feeling like this isn’t going to let you have any fun. At first we might feel pretty excited about doing something. You go to a concert or watch a movie and are empowered by the idea that you could be doing that very thing. This in my opinion is an extremely valuable experience and inspires us to have a great sense of confidence. The problem is that it doesn’t last. We are overcome by what we think to be reality. The idea that it isn’t possible for you to do it. Well, that isn’t reality unless you let it be. In this article we will discuss how to not let those fears and doubts dominate you and completely stop you in your tracks.
Some encouragement if you’re a beginner…
First, no one is born with talent. It takes a lot of work and dedication. Respect the fact that the pros invested the time needed to get the return on those investments later on. If you are just starting to learn guitar, count the cost. You will have to invest some time and some energy, but that doesn’t have to suck the life out of you. It can be lots of fun. As you make progress, slow or not, if you approach it correctly, you will actually be more energized as you go. I think we often fear that we won’t make it to the end of the race. Don’t demand of yourself too much at once. Marathons aren’t run by babies or people who’ve never run before. Just enjoy where you’re at and the learning process. Now back to the non-beginners.
1 – Getting Results; getting over yourself
Getting results is what we all want. They differ from person to person, but no one puts forth the effort to practice and doesn’t hope for improvement. No one performs and thinks, “I sure hope this doesn’t touch or impress anyone in anyway.” If you know someone like this, then, well, they might be crazy or asleep or imaginary.
The most important part of the process is you. Ironically you are also the biggest problem. So, what do we do with you? It’s a funny question, but I’m being serious, too. How do you(the one with the problem) fix yourself? That’s a big dilemma. No one else can give you the results you are looking for. You have to change your mindset, be disciplined, and take action. This should be common sense, but it is also very easy to forget.
You must let go of your ego! We all have ego’s, but the way we handle them is what will make the difference. You can’t be completely selfless 100% of the time. You might be saying, “speak for yourself, you don’t know me.” You’re right, I am speaking for myself, but it’s human nature. I’m sure you weren’t saying that, but you can imagine someone saying that. It just proves the point how quickly we can become defensive. We naturally protect ourselves and provide for ourselves. There is this instinct to duck or block if a ball is thrown at our face. You don’t think about it, weigh your options, and make a well thought out decision. You just react! Part of our nature is to keep ourselves from pain and when we see practice as pain, then we fear it. That fear is a natural reaction to stop us from practicing. Like a self preservation mechanism. Relying on instinct isn’t always best. We might be able to avoid pain, but there is also this part of us that wants to do great things. A desire, big or small. If we always avoided everything we feared in the littlest way we’d be running forever. The results would only be never knowing what we never tried. Regret.
This is the psychological processes most people go through instinctively without thinking about it. The awareness of this will help you to begin to chose how you will feel rather than react. You could always keep trying to practice and fight through it, but you will not be enjoying it. Why not make it simpler, easier, and more fun? Right?
2 – Letting go; Have proper expectations on yourself
One of the fastest ways to sabotage your efforts is to force results. Ever seen people argue politics? When people try to force their opinion on another the other person just shuts them out even more. A wall goes up and they feel even more strongly that the other persons views are wrong. I think this happens with ourselves. We force it and the stress of having to do it depletes us of our emotional energy and we then feel like we’ve proven to ourselves that we can’t do it.
3 – Reconcile; with yourself
It’s OK if you’re not perfect right now. The concept of perfection you have in your mind was probably developed through opinions of others you adopted over time anyway. Progress is made by moving froward and you are in your own way. This image of perfection will cause you to compare yourself to others. If you’re not as good as them, you feel like crap and will stop yourself from progressing. If you are better, you feel superior and no one likes people like that. This isn’t healthy. How about just enjoying the music, being excited that you made some progress this week, no matter how small. Stop watching music competition shows on TV. Find really good things to say about bands that aren’t very good and tell it to them.
The goal isn’t to be bad at guitar or give up on perfecting your skills, it’s to make it easier to perfect it. Do not settle for mediocrity. Keep your sights set on the goal. Being determined, disciplined, and excited will bring results much faster when we accept the possibility of achieving our goal and let ourselves grow towards it. Think again about the greats who play like it was as easy as eating pie. Do they looked all stressed out about it? Do they look forced or like they’re exerting this great amount of effort? No, they look like their having lots of fun and it just came out of them.