The biggest obstacle standing in the way of your guitar playing greatness is not learning complicated techniques, becoming a faster player, memorizing scale patterns or anything else musical. Fact is, anyone can master these aspects and play guitar well. However, most guitarists are not committed enough to doing what it takes to become great in order to actually do so.
Think about all the tasks you must get done to become a great guitarist as a mountain you must climb. Right now, you are either at the bottom or somewhere in the middle, and you want to be at the top. As you scan up the side of the mountain, it can feel intimidating. But one thing is for sure, you will never get to the top by only focusing on how tall the mountain is. Instead, you'll need to see the ascent as a series of steps. You need to:
1. Pinpoint each step that will lead you to your goals for guitar
2. Achieve one step after the other until you have reached the top of the mountain
To do this, you have to answer one question:
Being aware of the best steps to take, and actually doing those steps one after another will lead you down the road to success. But to pursue and accomplish musical greatness, you've got to truly want it bad enough. So what does "wanting it bad enough" refer to exactly? To begin with, it definitely does not refer to practicing guitar for 5+ hours every day (something that is not at all required for becoming a great guitarist).
Here is what wanting it bad enough really means - choosing what really matters. Choosing to do what is best for reaching your goals and not fabricating excuses for why you think you can't accomplish them (more on this below). You also need to make better choices with how you utilize whatever available time you DO have. When your friends are out partying, watching videos online, or watching pointless TV shows, you should be realizing your dreams, becoming the great guitarist that you deserve to be!
The majority of guitar players do not become great because they invest most of their time thinking about what they'd like to do rather than actually doing it. This is a basic symptom of not wanting it "bad enough" to achieve greatness. Have you ever found yourself saying the following:
- I'd like to find out how to effectively practice guitar to obtain my guitar playing goals, but I don't have enough energy or the time to do it
- I'd like to wake up early in the morning to get extra guitar practice time, but it's too hard
- I'd like to take lessons with the world's best guitar teacher, but I don't have the funds available to do so
- I'd like to be coached for success by the greatest guitar trainer, but I don't have the time, or I'm intimidated
- I'd like to develop good guitar practice discipline, but it's hard
- I'd like to become a great guitarist fast, but I'm uncertain if it's really possible
It's clear that actually doing all these things is going to massively speed up your progress towards achieving your guitar playing goals.
Whenever you think to yourself "I'd like" to do something rather than actually doing it (or taking action of some kind), you are keeping the door open for excuses to control your mindset. With this approach, you will over time allow mediocrity to infect your guitar playing and your progress will stall. It's been said that: "Those who want something, find a way... those who don't, find an excuse." Excuses are the death of your musical goals!
On the bright side, it's pretty easy to turn this around. It all starts with the basic process of imagining what could happen to your guitar playing if you replaced the "I'd like" part in the list above with "I AM". Go through this right now by reading the list below out loud. Don't merely read in your mind, actually say it out loud:
- I AM learning how to practice guitar in a highly effective manner
- I AM getting up early every morning to work towards achieving mastery in my guitar playing
- I AM taking lessons with the world's best guitar teacher
- I AM being coached for success by the greatest guitar trainer
- I AM developing more disciplined guitar practicing
- I AM becoming a great guitar player fast
Now, picture how your guitar playing would be right now if everything above was true for you on a regular basis. Picture how much more progress you'd be making and how much more you would be enjoying the process of achieving your goals if you could truly say "Yes" to the items in the list above. Take just a few moments and think about it.
Now, guess what: these statements truly can become your reality. This starts with:
To bridge the gap between "I'd like to" and "I AM" you must say: "I CHOOSE."
Reality is, people who became great guitarists did so by "choice". As you read above, discovering the correct things to practice isn't a big challenge - anyone can do this (read this to find out what you must do to reach your musical goals). The fundamental difference between great guitar players and everyday guitarists is the choice they make to become great. This choice is the product of their "bad enough" need to attain their goals, mixed with the important reasons behind their musical goals. Rather than allowing excuses to take over your mindset, challenge yourself to choose excellence.
To do this, eliminate all your excuses for not doing something by replacing them with a reason to do it. It's simple. Complete the following exercise: read the following statements out loud, and this time complete the part that comes after the word "because" with your own personal reason.
- I CHOOSE to learn how to practice guitar in a highly effective manner, because...
- I CHOOSE to up early every morning to work towards achieving mastery in my guitar playing, because...
- I CHOOSE to be trained by the best guitar teacher, coach and trainer, because...
- I CHOOSE to be focused and disciplined, because...
- I CHOOSE to become the incredible guitarist that I am destined to become, because...
- I CHOOSE to control my own destiny, because...
Once you replace "excuses" with "big enough reasons" that you want to achieve badly enough, everything becomes very easy. Your reasons are the thing that drives your choices and forces you to take actions to accomplish incredible things. So whenever all your friends are playing around on guitar, playing the same licks (instead of truly practicing), sleeping more than they should or watching YouTube videos, you will be the one taking a single action, one step at a time, to achieve your dreams and become the great guitarist that you deserve to be!
While desiring greatness bad enough is the initial step needed to truly become a great guitar player fast, you create long-term, intense desire for practice by taking one positive action after the other. While keeping a close eye on your greatest guitar playing goals, pay attention to feeling of achievement you feel after completing even a small step towards greatness. Maybe you just finished practicing intensely for several hours or simply woke up early in the morning so you could practice before going to school or work... THIS is what will give you the motivation needed to continue on the same path tomorrow and the day after that. As you consistently take action, what you do will compound upon itself and you will eventually transform into the great guitarist you want to become. Keep focusing on how great each action along the way makes you feel and you will become more motivated to feel this way every day.
Now that you have read this article, do you want to become a great guitarist bad enough? Don't be just like most other guitarists who only want it a little (but never achieve it), you are much better than that and you deserve better too!
Getting started down the road to becoming a great guitarist is simultaneously the most difficult and easy part. Get things going now by doing something to achieve a quick, small victory. Choose what matters and take action to head down the path to greatness!
Take the best guitar lessons online and accomplish your guitar playing goals faster than ever.
Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world.
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