How To Tell If You Will Become A Great Guitar Player Part 1:
Do You Want It Bad Enough?
by Tom Hess
What is the biggest obstacle that will get in your way of becoming a great guitar player? It’s NOT learning new techniques, playing faster, figuring out music theory or any other musical aspects of your playing. Fact is, nothing about learning to play guitar is “all that hard” - anyone can do it. The real problem (that keeps most guitarists from achieving true greatness) is not being committed enough to doing what needs to be done to reach your musical goals.
Imagine all the things you need to do to become a great guitar player like a huge mountain in front of you. You are currently standing at the bottom (or in the middle) and your goal is to get to the top. As you look up to the top of the mountain, it can be overwhelming, frustrating and sometimes even intimidating. However, you will never reach the top (and become a great guitarist) by focusing on how big the mountain is. Instead, you must see all the steps as part of a staircase. All you need to do is:
- Learn each step that leads to your musical goals
- Take one step at a time until you have climbed to the top of the mountain
In order to do this and become a great guitar player, you need to answer this question:
Do You Want To Become A Great Guitarist Bad Enough?
Knowing the right steps to take, and taking those steps one at a time will get you on the path to success... but to travel ALL THE WAY towards true musical greatness, you must WANT IT bad enough. What does “wanting it bad enough” mean? Good news: it does NOT mean practicing 6, 8 or 10 hours per day (so even if you cannot practice guitar all day, you still can definitely become a great guitar player).
What wanting it bad enough DOES mean is “choosing what matters” - choosing to do the things that you already know will get you to your goals and not making excuses for why you think you can’t do them (more on this below). It also means making better choices with how you invest whatever free time you DO have. When your friends are out drinking beer, wasting time on the internet, or mindlessly watching TV, you need to be fulfilling your dream, becoming the great player that you want to be and absolutely CAN be!
Transform Your Guitar Practice Mindset From “I’d Like To” To “I AM”
Most guitar players never become great because they spend most of their time thinking about what they would like to do instead of actually doing it. That is a primary symptom of NOT “wanting it bad enough” to become a great guitarist. Have you ever thought/felt the following:
I'd like to learn how to practice guitar effectively to reach my goals, but I don't have the time or energy
I'd like to wake up 30-60 minutes earlier in the morning to learn, practice and master guitar, but it's too hard
I'd like to learn from the world's best guitar teacher, but I don't have the money
I'd like to be coached and trained by the top guitar trainer, but I don't have the time, or I'm too intimidated and afraid
I'd like to be more disciplined about my guitar practicing, but it's hard
- I'd like to become a great guitar player, but I don't know if I can become one
It’s obvious that actually DOING all the above things (vs. saying that “you’d like” to do them) is going to dramatically speed up your progress towards your guitar playing goals.
Likewise, it’s obvious that when you tell yourself “I’d like” to do something instead of actually DOING it, you are leaving the door open for excuses to creep into your mind. As a result, you slowly allow mediocrity to enter your guitar playing and your progress hits a wall. It’s been said that: “A man who wants something, will find a way…a man who doesn't, will find an excuse.” Excuses spell DEATH to your musical goals!
Fortunately, it is very simple to turn all this around. It starts with simply imagining what would happen to your guitar playing if you could replace the “I’d like” part in the statements above with “I AM”. Read the statements below out loud right now (yes, actually speak them OUT LOUD… if you don’t do this, you will get zero benefit out of this exercise):
I am learning how to practice guitar more effectively
I am waking up early every morning to work towards mastering my guitar playing
I am learning from and being trained by a world class guitar teacher, coach and trainer
I am focused and disciplined
I am becoming the great guitar player that I DEMAND of myself to become
- I am in control of my own destiny
…now, imagine how different your guitar playing would be right now if all of the above statements actually were true for you on a consistent basis. Think of how much faster your progress would be and how much more you would enjoy the process of getting to your goals if you could honestly say “Yes” to the statements above. Take a moment and really think about that…
Now, guess what: these statements absolutely CAN be true for you. This starts with:
Choosing What Matters
The bridge between saying “I’d like to” and saying “I AM” is saying: “I CHOOSE…”
Fact is, becoming a great guitar player is simply a “choice”. As mentioned above, finding out the right things to practice is not that hard - anyone can do this (read this to learn what goes into reaching your musical goals). The REAL difference between great guitarists and average guitarists is the CHOICE they make to become great. This choice is the product of their “bad enough” desire to reach their goals, combined with the reasons behind their musical goals. Instead of giving in to excuses, mediocrity and laziness, challenge yourself to CHOOSE the path towards greatness.
To do this, replace the excuse for NOT doing something, with a reason TO do it. It’s easy. Do the following exercise: read the sentences below out loud once again, and this time complete the part that comes after the word “because” with your reason for wanting to take this action.
I CHOOSE to learn how to practice guitar effectively, because…
I CHOOSE to wake up early every morning to work towards mastering my guitar playing, because…
I CHOOSE to learn from and be trained by a world-class top guitar teacher, coach and trainer, because…
I CHOOSE to be focused and disciplined, because…
I CHOOSE to and DEMAND of myself to become a great guitar player, because…
- I CHOOSE to be in control of my own destiny, because…
Once you replace “excuses” with “big enough reasons” that you want to achieve badly enough, everything will become easy. Your reasons are what drives your choices and causes you to take actions to achieve great things. So when all your friends are noodling around on guitar, playing the same old riffs (instead of REALLY practicing), sleeping more than they should or playing video games, you will be the one taking action, one step at a time, to fulfill your dream and become the great guitar player that you are destined to be!
Success Breeds Success
While a bad enough desire is the starting point of your guitar playing greatness, you build true long-term motivation for practicing as a result of one positive action building upon another. In addition to focusing on your greatest guitar playing goals, focus on the feeling of achievement you get after taking even a small step towards your guitar playing greatness. Whether you just completed several hours of intense guitar practice or simply woke up early to MAKE time for 30 minutes of guitar practice before work – this will give you the motivation you need to keep going tomorrow and the next day and the next. As you do this every day, these actions will compound upon themselves to transform you into the great guitarist you desire to become. Focus on how great each step along the journey feels and you will be more motivated to strive to achieve this feeling every day.
So, do you want to become a great guitarist bad enough? Or are you just like most people who "kind of" want it (but never achieve it)? Don’t be like most guitarists who only work half-ass to become better players - you are better than that and deserve better than that!
Getting started on the path to great guitar playing is both the hardest and the easiest part... Start by doing something now and achieve a victory for yourself right now. Take massive action and blaze a new path to greatness!
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