“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.”– Tony Robbins, Best-selling Self-Help Author and Motivational Speaker.
Let me ask you a question.
Do you think those people who are considered ‘great’ or ‘good’ guitarists have the same opinion of themselves as those thought to be less skilled?
I don’t mean whether or not they go around shouting their mouths off, bragging about their ability. I’m talking about their inner opinions of themselves as musicians.
Actually, you’ll find that great players have very different opinions of themselves from their average or poor counterparts. This is due to the ‘inner talk’ going on in their heads.
We’re going to reprogram your mind to make sure that you’re ‘inner talk’ is saying the right things to you.
Read through that list you’ve just made of your most negative beliefs and ask yourself this:
“Would someone who could play at the level I want to, think anything like that about themselves?”
If you believe it’s too difficult for you to form your fingers into a bar chord or that your brain and fingers can’t work fast enough to play great solos – do you think that this is what an accomplished player would believe about themselves?
“That’s all very well” you might argue, “but someone who can play guitar obviously is able to form bar chords easily” or “a top player can move his fingers around the neck quickly so of course these people believe they can do it!”
OK but which do you think came first – their belief or their ability?
All you need to do is to disrupt your negative beliefs, first to weaken and then to destroy them. This will allow you to replace them with new positive ones. Positive beliefs will start to add feelings of confidence and faith in yourself as a guitarist which in turn will lead to improvements in your actual ability.
Changing Your Old Beliefs Like Worn Strings
A guitarist from San Francisco just wanted to be able to learn to play so that he could strum a couple of guitar songs at his upcoming wedding but he was convinced he’d never remember what he’d learnt. He needed to take that negative belief about being a poor learner and turn it on its head or he’d never be able to do it. He wrote the following statements:
“Learning how to play guitar is easy and natural for me.”
“I always remember everything I learn about how to play guitar.”
These helped boost his confidence in his learning and I’m happy to report he was able to play faultlessly on his big day.
A female player, who was already an established band member, was frustrated trying to create solos for the songs her band wrote. Her negative belief was that she could never translate what was in her mind to the fretboard. She created new empowering beliefs and managed to turn her solos around. She wrote:
“I love to write fantastically original solos. My ideas flow smoothly from my head to guitar.”
Now try it with your own list of beliefs from this article. Spend a few minutes thinking about how you could invert or turn the belief on its head by stating the opposite.
When you’ve done this with your whole list, ask yourself whether there may be any other helpful positive beliefs about yourself that you could add on. For example, even though she didn’t particularly have any negative beliefs about her technical ability, the soloist above added an additional positive statement that she always found it easy to ‘structure’ her solos in the best way:
“Ideas for the most original and suitable solo structures always come naturally to me.”
Why COULD You Succeed?
Now you have a new list of positive statements, you’re going to find reasons why they could possibly be true. Why? Because the more reasons you have to believe in something, the stronger that level of certainty you’ll feel. You can do this by asking yourself “Why could I” after each of your new beliefs. Make yourself find multiple reasons.
For example, if you believe one of the factors holding you back from progressing on guitar is that you find the whole process of learning it very difficult, think about other things you’ve successfully learnt in your life. Can you think back to how difficult it was when you first got behind the wheel of a car? Or going back further than that, how scared you were the first time you went to school and had to try to make new friends? Or ride on a bike without your stabilizers? Learning to play a guitar is no more difficult than any of those. You’ve learnt skills that require great co-ordination on more than one occasion in your life already so why couldn’t you do it again? Look for multiple skills you’ve needed to acquire over your lifetime in order to master something. You can make a list of these if you feel it will give you that added confidence.
You can and should keep on asking this “why could I?” question for as long and as often as you have to in order to come up with the answers you need to convince yourself that you can achieve your goals.
One of the negative beliefs I had about myself when I was trying to learn to play for my first gig was that I didn’t feel I had enough time to learn both the instrument and the songs. I overcame this by firstly inverting the belief to:
“I have all the time I need to master playing and comfortably learn all the songs for the gig.”
I can’t pretend that I believed that new positive statement straight away. I had to look for reasons why it might be true. Why I could achieve it.
- I reminded myself that I could give up watching TV for as many nights as I wanted to or at least sacrifice some of my favorite programs so I could practice every day.
- I reminded myself that I knew quite a lot about using more of my mind. That if I used the power of getting myself to believe I could do it – I would become a good guitarist.
- I even reminded myself that there were plenty of people out there who had never learnt much else in their lives but who had managed to master playing guitar for a living. I was only looking to do it on a part time basis and play one gig – for now at least. If they could do it – so could I!
So, whenever you’re having trouble adopting your new beliefs or feeling confident that you can actually achieve the goals you’ve set, ask the “why could I?” question.
You’ve taken an important step by changing your list of negative beliefs into these new positive ones. You can get rid of your old negative list for good. Keep hold of your new positive list. You’re now going to learn how to imbed these as ‘new truths’ in your mind.