Principles of Guitar Learning
Do things for reasons. Stop doing things for no reason.1 Sometimes your reason for doing something will be to have fun. Sometimes your reason will be to improve. Make a decision about which one you’re doing. It will prevent you from doing things for no reason.
Once you’ve decided to get better today, work on something slightly outside of your comfort zone. 2 Like a soldier running towards gunfire, let discomfort be your compass. 3
Once you’ve embraced discomfort, you’ll need to know what to work on next. Doing the work out of order wastes your efforts and your time. The efficiency of the proper sequence multiplies your results. 4
Things worth knowing can’t be learned overnight.5 The only shortcut is to avoid wasting time. This is simple but not easy: decide to get a tiny bit better today, push outside your comfort zone, work on the most important thing.
Show up every single day. Because you can only get a tiny bit6 better each day, you have to show up every single day. How many days before you get where you’re going? Assume one thousand days of tiny improvements.7
The sea gets deeper the further you go into it. 8 This means that, after you’ve become a tiny bit better, each day for one thousand days, you will be massively better than you are today. But you’ll still be a thousand days of tiny improvements away from where you’d like to be.
Your target will always be moving. Your goal must not be the attainment of a result, but rather the execution of the process that leads towards the result.9
This moves your goal from the faraway future to today.
And the only thing better than attaining your goal today is enjoying the process of doing so.10
Learn to love the process.
Each and every one of these fine individuals is worth reading, and I’m beyond stoked every time one of their emails lands in my inbox. For me, the magic of the internet is the ability to have amazing teachers like this, completely free. (Or almost free: I’ve gladly forked over well-spent dollars to buy books from Derek, Seth, Tim, Nassim, & David, and I’ll do the same when the rest of their books hit.)
GO SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR BLOGS & BUY THEIR BOOKS!
1 Sebastian Marshall Do things for reasons. Avoid doing things for no reason.
2 Derek Sivers How to expand your comfort zone.
3 Seth Godin Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear.
4 Tim Ferriss The chapter on sequencing alone is worth the price of the book.
5 Tynan The magic of thinking about how today’s actions affect your medium-term future self.
6 Mr. Money Mustache This is about personal finance, but the lesson is the same: little things add up.
7 Dan Andrews This is about entrepreneurship, but the lesson is the same: play longball. Also, Dan is now saying that maybe it only takes 500 days. When he commits to that in print, I’ll share that link too.
8 Nassim Taleb I learned this Venetian proverb from Taleb’s mind-expanding book Antifragile. If you’re a wuss about reading, at least read Derek Siver’s notes on this book.
9 James Clear James ostensibly writes about health, but nearly everything he says could be applied to learning guitar. I also stole much of the layout of this site from his. I hope he’s more flattered than pissed about that.
10 Raptitude David writes beautifully about a range of self-improvements. It’s from him that I stole the idea of running public experiments on myself.