Tip: Something To Push Against

Have you ever not reached a goal because it looked too easy to do, or because there wasn’t enough struggle involved in reaching it? Sometimes it seems like we need to have something to push against in order to reap some value from life. This can be true with your guitar education. For example, take two guys who are guitar novices and give one of them all the time and money he needs to get the best resources for learning guitar. Give the other guy two full time jobs to hold down and a family and lots of other non-guitar commitments. Maybe he can squeeze ten minutes out of his four hours of sleep to beat a Wes Montgomery lick to death before he falls flat on his face, where he stays until his shrieking three-year-old wakes him. Which guy is going to learn to play faster and better?

Okay, maybe this wasn’t the best example. But consider two other ideas from your own experience. Have you ever seen a preponderance of people from another country, a relatively poor one, come to your country and become wealthy? It’s like your country, which you’ve always taken for granted, is like heaven to them, or some precious gift that they dare not waste. And maybe it’s the struggle of having to learn another language, deal with prejudice and homesickness and poverty that actually spurs them on to achieve wealth.

A final example: Have you seen those nature movies where salmon leap upstream, completely against a river’s current, to reach their spawning grounds? That image is forever burned in my brain. When I recall it, a part of me says, “Stupid fish! Why the heck don’t they just…” and so on. And another part of my brain is saying, “They need to do that. They need to have the struggle.” Forget about survival of the fittest and all that, just consider the idea that you need to have something to push against to get the thing you want.

So, if you’re not reaching your guitar goals, consider looking for things to push against. “I’m going to learn this lick because last time I played it for cousin Moe, he told me not to quit the day job. I’ll show him.”

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2010 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – November 17, 2008 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.