Being awesome doesn’t happen by accident.
As much as we would like to think that we could achieve awesome status just by breathing oxygen, it usually requires more than that. Much more.
You’ve got to bring your “A game” to the party if you want to achieve greatness in anything. This applies to anything you’re trying to learn, improve upon or accomplish.
And whether it is music, academics, your career, your favorite hobby, your relationships – why not shoot for awesome in everything you do? After all, you only live once (the ever popular YOLO); you may as well live like a champ.
The Six Steps to Awesome is all about attitude and strategies. They are the elements that I believe are required to be great at the guitar or whatever you choose.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that I’ve arrived – I’m still striving for awesome every single day, like many of you.
But if you feel like you’ve been going through the motions and you’ve got more to offer – or if you’re just starting your own guitar journey – then get busy putting these Six Steps to Awesome into action.
The reward will be music – sweet guitar music – to your ears.
Awesome Step #1: Make the Commitment
If you’re an adult, this is like preaching to the choir. Except that not everybody is willing to do what it takes, even when they’re all grown up.
We tend to talk the talk, but we don’t always walk the walk. We know that achieving guitar greatness takes a strong commitment on our part, but do we really commit?
If you’re a teenager, some of these things might not even be on your radar. You’re too busy having fun and partying like a rock star to think about commitment. After all, you can always tackle it tomorrow.
Well, I’m here to remind you that there are not an endless supply of tomorrows. Now is as good a time as any to make the commitment to be awesome.
Before any sort of awesome can be achieved, you must first pick up the guitar and play.
It boggles my mind that so many guitar students can let multiple days go by without playing their instrument. Any serious guitarist must make time for practicing and studying.
There will always be things to distract us and things to take up what little free time we have. There will be things that are “more important” or even “more fun”.
But if you only play and practice when you can find the time, then you’re dooming yourself to mediocrity. You will never find enough time to be great.
If you want to be great, you have to make the time.
After you pick up your guitar, you must be willing to put forth mental and physical energy.
Whether you’re practicing or playing, you’ve got to bring your “A game” as much as possible. Anything less yields mediocre results.
Even on your bad days, dig in and bring some intensity to your guitar studies. You’ll discover things about yourself that you may not have known.
In the world of basketball, they say that defense is all about “want to”. I feel the same way about guitar.
Former NBA player Dennis Rodman was not the most physically gifted athlete, but he had more “want to” than anyone when it came to rebounding and hustle. He rode “want to” all the way to five NBA championships, seven rebounding titles and two awards for Defensive Player of the Year.
Bring more energy to your guitar practice and watch your musical game soar.
The commitment here is to yourself. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what you really want out of your guitar studies. The answer is not always clear.
Do you want to be really good at guitar? Or are you happy being just okay?
You may think that I’d like you to reply with, “I want to be really good.” But the fact is, it doesn’t matter what I want or think. The only person that matters here is YOU. You have goals for yourself, so go after them!
If your goals are to be the best player you can be, then your commitment has to match that. If your goals are not so lofty, that’s cool – but be honest about it.
Don’t say one thing and act differently. That just causes a lot of anxiety because you know that your actions are not matching your goals. Being honest with yourself about what you really want is the first step in making the proper commitment.
Personal Confession Time
Just a few years back, I took some jazz guitar lessons from my friend and mentor, Carl Filipiak. Carl is a great guy and a fine instructor. He tried his best.
Me – not so much.
As much as I would like to say I was a great student, I was actually pretty awful. And I used every excuse in the book to convince Carl – and myself – why jazzy things were not happening.
The truth was, I had not made a real commitment to be a jazz player. I talked the talk and that was about all.
Of course, every so often I would get fired up and practice really well, but that would often fade. The real issue was that, deep down, I loved the idea of being a great jazz guitarist, but I didn’t love jazz guitar enough to do what it took. In my heart I was a rock, pop and blues player who dabbled in jazz.
Since I had no jazz gigs to play and no serious jazz students, I concluded that being “okay” at jazz would have to suffice. And I would make a stronger commitment to the things I wanted to be awesome at: teaching guitar, writing for my website, and playing rock, pop and blues.
Being awesome doesn’t happen by accident. It all starts when you make the commitment.
If you’ve made the commitment to be the best player you can be, then I’ll see you at Awesome Step #2: Find a Mentor. Cheers!
QUESTION: How is your personal commitment to your guitar studies? Does it match your goals as a player? Leave me a comment below!