“Yeah, well you’re too busy anyway, just skip the class this week, shouldn’t you be doing…”
This is what Kevin tells himself, how he “takes the easy way out” from playing guitar: time.
It’s universal. Most people I ask why they can’t play guitar as they wish say time.
But it’s not just time. It’s time and energy. Mark, although he manages 45 minutes per night, says:
Work commute is 2 hours long on the way home. I am pulling out my guitar and nodding off at times looking at my Hal Leonard’s…
By the time I get home from work, I’m not in the mood to memorize. It can be really boring!
Aditya, a computer programer from India faces the same situation, with a twist:
I have too many urgent, sometimes more important things that get in the way. I am often too tired when I get home from work. I often wonder “what should I practice.” Searching for practice material and then practicing feels too cumbersome and time taking.
It’s too much. One step too many. He’s so tired, unless he already knows what to do he drops it.
Back to Kevin Gardner, from NY:
I wouldn’t even pick up the guitar to even try. And if I did I probably would have gotten into it. But it was the barrier of that before I even got to it. And then it’s like everything else where you just start thinking of the thousand other things that you gotta do right now: Well yeah, I gotta do this anyway, I gotta go walk the dog, I really should clean up the closet, I should do this and that… and that’s much easier ’cause it’s there, you know it, you know what to do with that, and you feel the success of that.
So time is not the real issue. Time as en excuse is code-speak for something deeper. The certainty of meaningless success vs. possibly failing at something that matters. I’ll say that again: the certainty of meaningless success vs. possibly failing at something that matters.
In other words, fear of failure. Why risk my time plunging into unknown territory on the fretboard? Much better to do the laundry right now. Exciting.
Like Aditya, Kevin needs structure to know what to do next. It’s a fact: structure guides our use of time and energy towards something definite. Structure breeds success. Success creates momentum, energy. Like Aditya, Kevin needs a structure he can trust in order to feel he can give time to playing guitar. Kevin and Aditya need to feel successful.
Tom nails it here:
I don’t have enough free time to play – yes life is busy, but I have enough free time for other things, like gaming or messing around on the net, so my issue isn’t lack of time, it’s the choice of not picking up my guitar. Old habits die hard, especially habits born out of frustration from lack of progress in my real, complete understanding and ability to apply my understanding to the fretboard.
He knows time is just an excuse, he’s really avoiding his frustration from not getting it. Maria Bock, from Chicago says the same thing:
It’s too complicated… I’ve always thought this as well: 6 strings, how many scale steps, how do they relate… it makes my head hurt… because I’ve gotten lazy in things that I really want to do. It’s always more important to do other things for other people.
Doing things for other people, walking the dog, doing the dishes, whatever. Same thing: no guitar.
David, another recovering procrastinator hits it on the head:
My excuse is I haven’t found a system of learning that speaks to me… but I know it’s just an excuse. If I would “fiddle” around more consistently every day and make it a simple habit, I would be more accomplished now regardless.
System. Consistency. Habit. Structure.
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