The power of absolute certainty

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Expand your motivation

How would you feel if you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you had the ability to become one of the most skilled guitar players in the world? Absolute certainty drives us. Uncertainty makes us hesitate. When you have a goal that you desire strongly, and you know you have a strategy that will get you there for sure (Read the category "Get more out of practice) and you believe, at a gut level, that the "pain" you have to endure, is much smaller than the "pleasure" you'll get when you achieve your goal, you are, by definition, motivated to practice. But there's an element that will expand and strengthen this "motivational formula" and that element is the concept of certainty.

How certainty is build

Certainty is based on "references" or "experiences". When you have enough experiences that tell you that something is true, then you become certain that it's true. If you try 50 times to lift a 200 pound boulder and fail every time, you become very certain that you cannot lift that rock. If your three last girls friends left you with no notice - you become certain that the next one will also. It's not a matter of intelligently evaluation whether or not it's going to happen, you simply develop this certainty on an emotional level - and your future actions will be influenced by it, whether you want them to be or not.

Collecting evidence

So what happens if you set out to learn a lick and you fail and give up before you reach your destination? Well not much happens. But if you repeat the experience of deciding to master something and then failing to follow through and getting the result - you teach your brain that this process means pain. And it's not going to want to go through that process again. The pleasure of practicing and getting better disappears completely and you develop an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove that "you cannot learn to play fast"

But the opposite is also true! If you, time and time again, prove to yourself that you can master what ever you put your mind to, you'll develop an unshakable confidence in your own abilities. And you'll become absolute certain that you can become one of the best. There will be no doubt in your mind that that is attainable.

You create your future today

This process can sabotage or sky rocket your progress in a very short period of time. Imagine what would happen if you invited someone to the movie theater and then when they arrived you weren't there. How many times would you be able to repeat this and still have the person show up? Two or three times? The same things happens when you decide to master something and then you fail to follow through on your promise to yourself. If every new commitment turns into nothing, you punish yourself for making those commitments and very soon you are going to stop committing. But if every, or most, of your commitments turn into a pleasurable feeling of success and accomplishment, you make your brain want to go for more.

How to build absolute certainty in your abilities

The secret to building absolute certainty and maximum motivation in yourself, is to take a lick so manageable and small that you are absolutely certain that you will master it in a small enough period of time. In other words: 1. Select at lick that you know you'll be able to master in 2. A short enough period of time for you to 3. Not give up in the process. Set yourself up to win, so you can begin teaching your brain how pleasurable it is to practice and get rewarded.

Consciously build yourself up by making commitments and keeping them. If alternate picking is your focus, then start by taking a three note, one string lick and practice that until you become as good as you can possibly be! If you can play three notes as fast and precise as anybody in this world then by the mother of .... you can learn to play four notes also. Mastering one bit at a time builds certainty and confidence. Taking on too much and accomplishing very little, builds frustration and doubt.

Classical Piece in Bb Major

This is a little classical piece I came up with. You can expand it by experimenting with other arpeggios within the Bb Major Scale. Use your ears to determine when you have a chord progression that works well. Practice the first 12 notes over and over until you feel confident playing them. Then add the next twelve notes and practice shifting between the first and the second arpeggio. Then move on, one step at a time.

The two fatal mistakes

There are two main causes that make people sabotage themselves in this area:

1. Underestimating the challenge
2. Overestimating the challenge

Often we completely underestimate how long it's going to take us to master a given lick. And when we don't see the progress we expected, we give up and feel discouraged. The other extreme is just as destructive. But it often follows the first. When we've unsuccessfully tried to master several licks and found them too hard to handle, we develop a a belief that says "It takes a million hours of practice to master the guitar" instead of accurately accessing how much time we need, we jump right to this conclusion and give up.

The way out of this is to, yes you guessed it, play the metronome game. If you don't know what the metronome game is look under the category "Get more out of practice". This method gives you a way to predict how much time it will take you to develop your skills, and it gives you a methodical and easy way to master anything. When you've used this method for a month or two, you become a master predictor. The metronome game builds absolute certainty that you can learn anything you put your mind to, because you can.