The practice motivation formula

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The second requirement of mastery

You basically need two things in order to become a world class shredder:

1. A strategy that will get you there
2. The motivation to implement that strategy

You must know how to acquire the skills you want. And the more efficient your strategy, the faster you'll arrive at your destination. I’ve described the strategies I used to build my skills in the articles in the category “Get more out of practice”. But you can be an expert on how to practice, but if you can get yourself to do the work, your knowledge will be useless. Knowledge is not power. Only knowledge that is put into action is power. This series of articles is about how to convert knowledge into power and tangible results.

Motivation doesn't happen by accident

People who feel extremely motivated, do certain things in their head that makes them motivated. Motivation is not an accident but a mental strategy. Most of us run this strategy unconsciously, so it appears to be something that happens to us and not something we do. But the truth is that we don’t feel motivated, we do motivation. The things we say to ourselves and the pictures we make in our head creates an emotional response in our body that we call “motivation” or "demotivation". Here’s the basic structure of this motivational strategy:

The strategy of motivation

In order to feel motivated these three elements must be in place:

1. You must have a goal that you desire strongly
2. You must have a strategy that you believe will get you there
3. You must believe that the effort you must make is far smaller than the reward you’ll get

I’ve known quite a few people who really, really wanted to become skilled guitar players but they did not believe it was really possible for them. Most often, they believed that they had to practice for at least a decade to achieve any real significant level of skills. All though they really, really wanted their goal, and they believed they had a strategy that would get them there, they believed that the effort was too big compared to the future reward.

"Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded"

Jimi Hendrix

Do you really want it badly enough?

But the most common problem is that people simply don’t want it badly enough. They never really engage that passionate part of them that has the ability to drive them forward. And this is not a matter of either or. The only reason that you don’t want it badly enough is because you haven’t “sold” the idea well enough to yourself. If I came along and told you, that you could have anything you wanted in your life if you became extremely skilled, AND i told you that I had the strategy that would get you there in one year, would you feel slightly motivated?

The defining moment

I started playing when I was ten. I didn’t really want to, but my mom wanted me to play an instrument so I chose the guitar. From I was ten to I was 16, I mostly played simple classical tunes and basic chords. But then I stumbled upon a Paul Gilbert instructional video and my life was forever changed. I couldn’t  believe what I saw and heard. It was like Superman revealing his powers to me. In my brain I instantly connected everything I wanted in my life to becoming an extremely skilled guitarist. I was convinced that if I could play like Paul, I wouldn’t ever have to worry about anything else. I saw money, significance, love and happiness in that. AND the friendly guy in the video showed me how to do it! It was right there in front of me. I created a strong desire inside of me, I believed I had the strategies and I was convinced that what ever price I had to pay in time and effort was nothing compared to the rewards I would get when I achieved my goal.

If you think you can you can

But I was a little lucky. I had a father who had told me a hundred times that “You can do what ever you put your mind to” so I had no thoughts on whether I could do it. I could have ascribed the skills of Mr. Gilbert to luck, talent or some other factor beyond my control. I could have said “I don’t have the time to practice that much” or something like “If only I didn’t have such short fingers”. But I didn’t, because I was convinced that “I can do what ever I put my mind to” The funny thing is that beliefs like that become self fulfilling prophecies. If you really believe you can do it, you probably can. If you really believe that you can’t do it, you probably can’t. Or as Henry Ford is known to have said: “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right”

What about you?

So take a look at yourself for a moment. Do you really want to become incredibly skilled? How badly do you want it? What do you imagine that those killer skills will give you when you have them? Are those rewards really worth it? Are there possible benefits that you hadn’t thought about? Think about that for a few seconds and do it right now. Then move on and ask yourself this: “Do I believe I can do it?” Do you really sincerely believe that you have the capabilities to become as skilled as you want? Or do you have “limitations” that you believe you can’t do anything about?  What are those limitations? Are they real or imagined?

Question them for a moment. Ask yourself: “If there was a person just like me in another part of the world, with the same limitations I have, who have gone on to become a world class terror shredder anyway, what would that person have done different from me?” Decide to really focus on these questions and come up with as many answers as you possibly can.

Yngwie Malmsteen Upgrade - Diminished Tapping Shred Lick Lesson

This lick combines an ordinary scale run with a diminished lick. It's a good idea to practice going from a scale into an arpeggio and back again. And to come up with as many different combinations as you can. So don't stop here. Practice playing the same diminished lick in other positions with other scale patterns.

Remove the layers that hold you back

Without the internal drive to practice, there can be no mastery. If you do the right things when you practice (Strategy) and you practice consistently because you have a burning passion for getting better, will you eventually reach incredible levels of mastery? yes or no? Of course you will! There’s no question about it. Speed is not art, it's skill - And it can be learned like any other thing.

For the famous Italian artist Michelangelo, the job of the sculptor is too free the forms that, he believed, were already inside the stone. There’s already a world class shredder inside of you - you only have to remove the layers surrounding him to set him free.