I've been reading a great book by Steven Pressfield called the War of Art. In it, the author talks about this force called Resistance. It's anything that prevents you from doing your best work - the force that makes you procrastinate and never get anything you want done.
It can come in the form of not wanting to practice guitar because you just haven't gotten that great guitar yet. Anything, any excuse to hold you back from moving forward on becoming a better guitar player, with more opportunities. Thankfully, there are a bunch of ways you can overcome resistance.
In this post I'm going to show you three takeaways from the book which can make you a better guitar player.
Dedicate yourself to the craft
One of the things Pressfield goes over in the 'becoming a pro' part of the book, is that a professional dedicates himself to the craft. In addition to respecting guitar players who have come before you, it's also important to master technique.
What I took away from this chapter is something I had believed myself a while ago. Learn as many scales, styles, techniques and tricks as you can. While you might not need them all while improvising or playing in general, it's always a good thing to have these fundamentals in your back pocket while playing. Expand your guitar vocabulary, and you'll instantly become a more interesting player.
One of my first guitar teachers while in college loved to play blues and go to blues jams, but at the same time he played in lots of jazz quartets. Whenever he would pop out a jazz lick in one of the blues jams, people knew he meant serious business.
The art of putting your guitar on
Many times the most difficult thing is not the act of doing what we actually want to do, but the initial push. Sort of like this post. First, I have to get my ass in the seat before any real writing goes on. Once I'm in that seat though, the writing happens naturally.
The way I can relate this to guitar is the act of actually putting your guitar on yourself to practice or write. Sometimes we think about all the things we're going to play and riffs we're going to learn, but without putting in the real time to woodshed, nothing will come of it. Don't become the guitar player who never plays!
One of the best ways to overcome resistance when actually trying to play or learn is to write out your practice schedule. Set a timer on your phone, and practice different things, so you're practicing with a purpose. This way, at the end of the practice you know you weren't just noodling around. You'll learn faster this way, and if you set a schedule for an hour or so each day you'll find yourself making great progress. Try and get in a little playing each day, rather than cramming all your practice into one day.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Don't let asking for help deter you in becoming a better guitar player. With the wealth of resources that are online at this point, you should always be able to find an answer to any guitar-related question you have.
If you ever want to ask me a guitar related question, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I try to get back to anyone within a day!
How do you overcome procrastination and resistance?
Let me know what you're struggling with by reaching out on Twitter or Facebook. Also, go pick up a copy of Steven's book the War of Art. It's a great read that's sure to change your perspective on a bunch of things.
This post first appeared in Six String Sunday. It's a newsletter I've been doing for years that goes out once a week, every week, all year! Want to sign up? Check out the form below.
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