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My Life Lessons Learned From Playing Guitar
First, even though the guitar was my first passion and I went on to achieve success in the music space at a young age, eventually, as life changed, so did my focus…
- Economics etc.
But regardless of where my priorities took me, the one constant that always ensured success in other areas of life was the lesson’s taught to me by the guitar.
Read on as we look at some of these concepts and see if they can add value to you, the reader.
First, Why Play The Guitar?
Is this a passion project?
Is this a hobby, or are you just curious about the instrument?
Outside of the fact that the guitar is one of the most impressive instruments, it is also an instrument that will lead you down a journey of self-discovery with highs and lows, triumphs and defeats.
Les Paul was an American guitarist, songwriter, luthier, inventor, and pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar. He inspired the Gibson Les Paul, taught himself how to play, and described the instrument as…
“A guitar is something you can hold and love, and it’s never going to bug you.
But here’s the secret about the guitar, it’s defiant.
it will never let you conquer it.
The more you get involved with it, the more you realize how little you know.”
Every setback might be the very thing that makes you carry on and fight all the harder and become much better.”
Whatever your reason for picking up a guitar, you are not alone.
Fender And Their Best Years In Sales
Fender’s guitar company CEO Andy Mooney was concerned with his company looking like they were going to be in for a rough ride during the pandemic and went on to say…
“We were looking over the edge of an abyss frankly and went into company preservation mode; we just tightened our belt with 2000 employees taking 50% pay cuts.”
Fortunately, people had time and decided to invest in the guitar. Fender went on to grow their company profits by 17% during the 2020 pandemic and topped 700 million in sales as people homebound were looking for new hobbies or interests.
Life Lesson 1
Follow Your Nose
Regardless of why you started playing guitar, the life lesson here is to look at things that attract your interest or curiosity, wherever they may lead.
Ask questions, and search for answers, genuinely look to want to know more about something, embrace the unfamiliar, make discoveries, experience growth and uncover new opportunities.
Research has proven that curiosity is linked to happiness, health and longevity.
“Curiosity is more important than knowledge.”
Creating Something From Nothing
As soon as you pick up a guitar, plug it in and strum, it’s making noise; now the trick is to make the noise that sounds good.
You now have to create an intangible to a tangible like…
- Playing your favourite songs or solos
- Learning the fretboard
- Chords, scales, picking etc.
How do you create something from nothing?
Learning Anything Has Never Been Easier
Nowadays, learning anything is at the touch of your fingers and can be accomplished with Persistence, focus and dedication for FREE.
‘Everything is available basically for free.”
you can learn anything you want… for free.”
Learning can also get done through…
- U-tube videos
- Web-based education platforms
What’s excellent about web-based learning today is you can access so many “authorities” that were impossible to spend time with not so long ago.
For instance, I can learn, listen and watch players like Marty Friedman talk about his approach to chord tone targeting or Steve Vai on techniques, theories and motivation.
Amazing stuff …
This could not have been done a few years ago.
New Small Habits
Unfortunately, because the instrument is so touch-sensitive, playing guitar can only happen by creating small new habits that support the image of what you want to do and become, then working backward.
I.e. I want to play guitar like…
More often than not, outside of learning some licks, to start, you will eventually need to go into some form of structured finger exercises that will strengthen your left-hand dexterity, along with picking techniques that will support your right hand, achieving a level of skill to play the music that sounds good to you.
Life Lesson 2
Create opportunities for yourself without waiting on someone or something else. (Something from nothing.)
Along with taking advantage of the ability to learn anything about a topic that you are interested or involved in from the accessible sources we all have at our fingertips.
Apply small new habits for faster growth and abilities.
Self Discipline & Focus
This is so important that if you do not develop some form of Self Discipline, it will be impossible to achieve what you can be as a musician.
This paradigm and way of living will make you a better guitarist, or anything for that matter.
It takes discipline for the priorities in your world, and learning a guitar will take up some of that time.
Self Discipline is the hours, weeks, months, and years of concentrated work in a particular direction.
It is a learned behaviour through practice and taking action every day.
Along with Self Discipline, there is also the ability to focus on something for a sustained period with an amount of effort on a single outcome.
I.e. How to play a favourite lick across the fretboard.
To accomplish this, focusing and being distraction-free for the time you are engaged is essential; the more you can stay free of distraction and focus, the easier you can resolve critical issues, push forward with applied learning, and grow your skills.
Interruptions, distractions and multitasking can pull you out of the flow and disrupt your ability to play at your potential.
Find a place to work, shut off all…
- Access to email and social media
Learn to do one thing at a time with a single-minded focus.
“The level of achievement that we have at anything reflects how well we could focus on it. Because the only thing holding you back is how you think.”
Life Lesson 3
Applying Self Discipline and Focus is key to success in any area…
- Health and Fitness
- Art, Music or
- Professional development
Patience & Persistence
Playing the guitar is an Art; with Art, there are no defined edges, just plateaus and it is a process that will develop as it should.
In a world conditioned for immediate results, the guitar teaches you to slow down, to let your skills and the familiarization of the instrument take the time it takes.
Resist the urge from external life pressures to go faster and benefit from the experiences you will get resulting from patience.
Slowing down does not feel good, for it goes against our minds and culture of speeding up, but take the time to listen to your instrument.
Patience will always dictate what it takes to learn anything; the illusion that this can be changed is just that… an illusion, for some things can be learned quickly, like weeks or months, while others can take the rest of your life.
Along with Patience, Persistence is equally important for continuing to do or try something, regardless of how difficult. It is needed for any new skill, and learning a guitar is just that…a skill!
Persistence gives you a “vital experience” that you only get from failure.
From each failure, you get another opportunity to learn and become more resilient, overcome challenges and succeed.
The 1% Rule
Be completely honest about what you do not know and strive to better yourself by 1 % Every Day.
It all starts with the tiny little things we do daily to help build the narrative around what you want to do and become, whether in your guitar playing or life.
I.e. Do you need to work on a better Sweep-picking technique or change your right-hand position for better Alternate picking?
No more noticeable is this 1% rule than on an electric guitar that picks up the slightest sound and amplifies the change.
Become 1% Better Every Day
Life Lesson 4
Realize that anything in your world will take time to learn, unlearn, change or grow; give it that time it needs and resist the urge to go faster.
Persist in your learning of a new skill, in spite of difficulty or failure. Patience & persistence are needed, but the rewards will follow.
Additionally, apply the 1% rule to everything you do by learning something new and using it in your daily skills.
Always push out of where you are comfortable and go further.
The true identity of your playing will begin at the edge of your comfort zone.
Embracing the little successes along the way show you that you are making gains in whatever your discipline is.
Brian Tracy says it best…
“For you to achieve something you have never achieved before, you must Master a new set of skills and tools you have never had before; you need to learn and do things you have never done to become someone you have never been before.”
No matter how good you get, all the great players always say that they are no better than anyone else because the guitar keeps you humble,
“I really do not live on compliments; as a matter of fact, it has a way of distracting me and a whole lot of other musicians and artists that are out there today.
They get fat and satisfied and get lost.
And they forget about the talent they have.”
In life, that’s the same; take your ego out of the equation and ensure that you remember to eat humble pie, for…
- Nobody has all the Answers
- Nobody has all the Skills
- Nobody can do Everything
Do not fall into the trap that you are better because…..
The Life Lessons Learned…
- Follow your Nose
- Learn and Create “Something from Nothing”
- Apply Self-discipline, Small new habits and Single-minded focus
- Patience, Persistence, the 1% rule &…
These life lessons from the guitar are basic standards; they will apply to everything you do or want to do, even though they are seemingly unrelated.
Keep growing your tools, and review your knowledge to keep it at the forefront of your actions. (Repetition is the mother of skill.)
Always Take action on what you are learning; slowly but surely your tools will solidify, and your skills will expand.
Not to forget one of the essential life lessons of all…
“Find what you love and do that.
You cannot be worried about what other people think; you have to be sure that what you do is what you love to do.”
Did You Like This Article?
Check out the post on using 10 Veteran Concepts To Improve Guitar Playing
Please leave your comments in the section below, and if you have a favourite player, guitar or topic you would like me to publish an article on, leave a note below.
As always, stay the course and keep playing.
First image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Second Image by timoteoestudos from Pixabay
3rd Image by Amin Pomnit from Pixabay
Jimi Hendrix Image by Mirko Sajkov from Pixabay
5th Image by Tommy Hammarsten from Pixabay
Starting A Journey At 7 Years Of Age, The Love For The Guitar Only Became Stronger Going Into My Teens. This Leading To An Exciting Time Of Teaching, Performing, And Recording. Join Me Now As We Can Bring The Love Of This Instrument To Other Musicians Globally.