The Limitation Lie

This article discusses how you can use your mind to become the guitar player you want to be.

Ultimate Guitar

Often times when we are learning guitar, or are learning anything for that matter, we are told by others that we can't do it. You might hear "Oh, you can't play that, it's impossible!" or "You've got a long way to go before you'll be good enough to play anywhere". What's even worse is when we tell ourselves those things and when we make excuses as to why we cannot learn something or play something. We may tell ourselves "I don't have the talent to play," "Nobody in my family is musical," "This will take too long for me to ever learn," etc.

The truth is that it is absolutely possible to be the guitar player that you want and play anything that you want! You see, I firmly believe that our lives are the way they are because of our thoughts and that we have the power to deliberately create the exact life we want. I was listening to an audio program the other day by Dr. Wayne Dyer called "The Real Magic" and one particular tape entitled "Develop A Magic Personality" really caught my attention. In it he discussed all of the limitations we put on ourselves and explains how we have been taught from the beginning that there are certain things we just cannot do for one reason or another. Dr. Dyer spends the majority of this program discussing ways to change our thought patterns in order to become the kind of people we want to be, and all of what he said seemed to fit so perfectly with playing the guitar. I decided that I would take some of the things he discussed and tell you how you can use them in your development as a guitar player.

One of the biggest things that can hurt your growth and improvement as a guitarist is doubt. If you continue to doubt your ability to play certain songs or to learn a certain technique then that will be what you experience. Doubt is an "ingredient" in your life that has a dramatic impact on everything you do. For many of us, having doubt stems from the fact that we are raised with the belief that comparison is a legitimate way of measuring self-worth. We are told that our worth depends on how we stand up to others. So when we watch our favourite guitarists playing and compare what they can do to what we can do, we may start doubting ourselves and start saying all sorts of things that just aren't true. Here's something to think about: If your guitar playing was the only playing you'd ever heard, then yours would be the best in the world because you'd have nothing to compare it to. We have this tendency to believe we are separate from everyone else in the world when at the quantum level we are actually all connected. So the truth is it is possible to play whatever anyone else can play because you are connected to the same higher energy levels that allow them to do what they do. It's all simply a matter of tapping into that energy.

As I mentioned before, doubt plays a huge role in how you develop as a guitarist. Once you are able to remove doubt, you will begin to notice a big difference in your playing abilities. A good way to start eliminating doubt is by replacing the words "I can't" with "I can" and by trying to have faith in yourself at all times and a knowing that you really can do anything. The next thing I would suggest is that you get a very clear picture in your mind of the guitarist that you would like to be and hold that picture in your mind. In conversations you have with others and especially with yourself, make sure you are saying things that fit with that image of yourself. Speak, act and think in ways that are in line with your ideal self. If you continue to think about yourself, speak about yourself and act in ways that suggest you are already the kind of guitarist you'd like to be, then that will ultimately become your reality. What we put our focus on and energy into expands, so if you focus on all the skills you are lacking and all the things you cannot do, then that will continue to be your experience. But if you shift your focus towards all the techniques and songs you'd like to be able to play and imagine yourself playing them, then that will be what you act towards and that will become your experience.

Something that helps me is to get excited when I find something that I don't know how to play or that is beyond my current skill level. I try to see those kinds of things only as opportunities to become better and something that might bring me closer to being the guitar player I'd like to be, rather than seeing them as more reasons to feel bad about where I currently stand. As a result, I tend to practice those things a lot more than I ever would if I continued to tell myself that they were impossible to do.

Another exercise that will help is to write down a list of all the things you'd like to be able to do and play. Then, take each item from that list and make it an intention. For example: "It is my intention to play such and such song flawlessly." By making this an intention rather than simply calling it a goal or desire, you begin using the language of action. When you make learning something or doing something an intention, then you naturally begin to do things that will ensure that desire's manifestation. So let's say you have made it your intention to play in front of an audience for the first time. By making that your intention, you might be more inclined to start preparing for a performance by practicing more or by searching for an appropriate venue where you can perform.

This stuff can really make a difference. Just remember that you have the power to change your life experience, no matter what it is that you want to do, simply by changing the way you see things.


"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer. If you would like more information on Dr. Wayne Dyer, then feel free to visit his website.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wobby McShwob
    Excellent! when I started playing, Dec 3 2006, my friend seabiscuit said I'd never be able to play the Cowboys fom Hell solo. So I proved his bitchass wrong, by learning this song and the solo within one year of picking up a guitar. I can play that solo note for note with dimebag on the album, and it actually is EASY for me now! My idol is Joe Satriani, and i try to play some of his songs, along with Yngwie and Vai because you have to improve ridiculously to play shit like that. That is how I advanced so fast, in under 2 years, I'm one of the better players in my town, simply because of playing shit that everyone else thinks is impossible and doesn't even try. You gotta push yourself, or else how the hell do you improve?!?!
    Wobby McShwob
    dont be afraid to try to play something that is beyond your abilities, just start slow, and speed it up only when your fingers get a feel for it. That is the most important thing
    I talk myself down WAY too much. I really liked this column, and its my intention to write a list of intentions!
    What you say is true. Now that i've left school I've become a better guitarist than a lot of so-called guitarists at school (who did just to score chicks mind you). A lot it came through positive talk and movtivation etc
    great article, it should be shown to those, who does not have self-confidence
    Agreed entirely- It's not about being a genius or a prodigy- it's about believing you can do it and doing it.
    Very nice article. I always laugh at my brother when he says that I can't play such a song. Sure, I may have a long way before being able to play Paul Gilbert's stuff, but if I don't try, I'll never improve. So in the meanwhile, I try to play Gilbert though it sounds like crap and I have to play slow, while my brother plays "3 Day's Grace".
    Of course this doesn't only apply to guitarist, it applys to all instruments and singing, and also alot of other things in life, nice column
    Your words ring very true. Props to you for taking the time to put it on this site. Once people realize that their limitations are only manifestations of their own doubt, who knows what we can accomplish. +10.
    Ye lately I've been trying to get some good solo songs down... but I would find a song recommended in the forums, look at them and be like "nah I could never do that I need something easier" when really this article is about what i'm doing. I'm doubting myself and I will now strive to use this and learn canon rock! Thanks.. rate it 10