The 3 traps to avoid at all cost

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How we learn to stop learning

Have you ever made a decision and then failed to follow up on it? Have you ever decided to do something only to realize that you didn't have the self discipline or the will power to go through with it? Of course you have. Everyone knows the feelings we get when we let ourselves down. When we do this enough times we stop trusting ourselves and every attempt to try something new is quickly followed by scepticism. And this is what happens to most people when they feel the urge to declare that "I'm going to become one of the most skilled guitar players in the world!" They immediately change that thought to something like "I think I'm going to practice a bit more from now on."

But here's the problem with this: Very few people are inspired by "Getting a little better" if we are going to move ourselves we must have more inspiring goals than that! We must reach for something much more exciting. But as soon as we do that, fear comes in. Fear of letting ourselves down once again. Fear of what others might say when we don't follow through. Fear of failure.

The ultimate deadlock

So we are caught in between these two elements: 1. The desire to become more, and 2. The fear of failing once again. The symptoms of this disease are the three evil brothers of lost potential and wasted talent. They are:

1. Cynisism
2. Sceptisism
3. Realism

Cynicism - Your most powerful enemy

When ever you or anyone around you suffers from one of these diseases, you know that they're basically afraid. These three elements are there to keep you from taking action. To keep you from risking anything. Cynicism is the most unpleasant of them all. It's a lethal attack to any new idea that could bring us out of mediocracy. If you're afraid of other people's ideas, you can always ridicule them by using cynicism. Not only will this response kill the idea instantly, it will also keep that person from coming up with new ideas in the future. If you use cynicism on yourself, you are destroying your chances of becoming a great guitar player. Where there is cynicism there can be no dreams and no real progress.

Skepticism - The road to nowhere

Scepticism isn't quite as ugly as cynicism, but that only makes it harder to spot. Being sceptical is asking questions that will surely make any idea or plan seem completely un-doable. Let's say you really want to become the player you always dreamed of becoming - and you are just about to launch into a plan of action, when you suddenly feel a bit sceptical.

Your mind goes "Do I really have the passion to make this commitment last? Can I really find the time for this? Is it really worth it? How much do I have to sacrifice in order to get to my destination?" Common to all these questions is that they all lead to answer that drain you of energy. And their aim is clear: To keep you from putting yourself on the line - to keep you from "failing " once again.

Realism - Trap or intelligence?

The third element is realism. This is such a common way to kill our dreams that we often don't notice what's going on at all. There's nothing wrong with being realistic. Sometimes it's a sign of intelligence. But was it realistic to want to fly through the air like a bird? Imagine the cynicism, scepticism and realism that goal must have brought up in people decades ago!

Was it realistic to want to put a man on the moon? Was it realistic to want to run a mile in less than four minutes when nobody had been able to do it for the last two thousand years? If record breaker, Roger Banister had been realistic, there was no way he would have done it back in 1954. I can list 100 accomplishments that are very real today that was once completely "unrealistic" and if we humans weren't able to be unrealistic in our expectations, we would still be living in caves eating bugs and raw fish. Be very aware of when "realism" is used as a guard against new action and growth and when it's an intelligent process.

The cure is courage

My advice to you is to eradicate these three behaviours in yourself and to be aware of when they happen in others. Their main message is always fear and the cure is always courage. Make the decision to reach for the stars, what ever that means to you. Make a decision to go for it. And when you fail to follow your plan, don't beat yourself up! Look at what you have accomplished with the decision you made and pat yourself on the back. I don't care if you only lasted a day or two, the fact is that you did follow up on your decision and you did make progress no matter how small. And the only thing you have to now is to get inspired again - and to make another decision. Then "fail" all you want, but make a new decision after that!

E-Minor Blues Arpeggio Lick

Here's a nice way to incorporate sweeping into a blues context. I use the E-Minor triad over an E-blues scale.

The simple way to achieve terror skills

What happens if you want to stop smoking and you follow this process? Eventually you will succeed! It's not the "failing to follow through" that is the problem. It's the "Oh no i failed again - why even try" that kills your progress. Every day is a new day. The only thing you can do with the past is learn from it. The future doesn't have to be a repetition of the past unless you live there. This day is new, and you can make new decisions right now and act upon them instantly.

There's only one way that you can end the battle completely - you can give up. If you haven't given up, you're still in the game. So it's completely up to you. Only you can decide when to quit and I promise you this: If you don't quit, you will succeed. It's as simple as that. And how do I know this? Anyone who  didn't succeed has given up - and all those who succeeded didn't. The statistics are obvious and very straight forward. So the only thing you really have to do, is to not give up. What ever you do, don't step outside the ring. Stay in there!

So how do you not quit? How do you stay in the ring? Refuse to use the past as proof of what you cannot do. Refuse to have that "I probably can't because I couldn't last month" discussion with yourself. Just don't go there. And if you do, slap yourself over the head and say "Are you an idiot?!" Then start talking to yourself the way a really good friend would instead.