What is motivation? You tell me.

I always get inspired by watching the Olympics because I’m seeing the realization of lifetime’s of training come down to singular moments of excellence.
I think about the daily focused effort that went into developing those athlete’s minds & bodies in a manner that enabled them to perform at that exceptional level.
And I wonder about how many times those swimmers had their alarm clocks go off at 5am and they really didn’t feel like jumping in the pool for the 10,000th time.
But they did it anyways.

So, what motivated them to dive in & swim for hours at a time every day? Was it simply to win an Olympic medal? Or was it because they totally love swimming?

And, think about this- What is the ratio of the amount to time spent participating in an actual olympic event to the amount of time put into the training for that event? A few minutes of performance time in respect to thousands of hours of training.

When it comes to your guitar practicing, what motivates you? Is it the simple joy of playing music?
For most of us, that’s probably at the heart of it when it comes to our musical efforts. And, I think, that specifically refers to the joy associated with the playing of songs.
But what about the technique exercises that we work on to develop the skills necessary to play those songs? What drives us to go through those drills continually time after time?…. drills that aren’t particularly exciting or inspirational as an actual piece of music is.
Of course, how much time you decide to devote to technical exercises is obviously going to be determined by what your goals for your playing are. If you’re aiming high, then you would want to prioritize such practices. This kind of effort is definitely a part of any virtuosic artist’s routine… certainly with musicians who study classical music or jazz. Those genres require a deeper training. And the key word here is “routine”, which means that high-level musicians worked on these exercises regularly, even when they didn’t feel like it.

So the essential point here is to define & create your own experience with it all.

I have addressed mindset frequently in this blog & it should be pretty clear by now that I am a big believer in the power of cultivating your own state of mind.  It doesn’t take a lifetime to attain the ability to do this… however, the process is a life-time practice.
Sometimes when I need to motivate myself, it helps me to just do it. Just sit down, pick up my guitar & start an exercise. I simply make a choice in the moment & then decide to act upon it.  Once I get started, I usually get into the flow & gradually dissolve into a more positive & productive mindset which leads to my enjoying my efforts…. because I know that I am improving.

Don’t underestimate the simple notion of practicing even if you don’t feel like it.  There are plenty of things we do everyday that we would perhaps rather not do… maybe our jobs, errands, health regimens, etc., but we do them anyways & it turns out to not be such a big deal.

I have to say for myself, and for most of my students who do this, enjoying the practice experience itself makes for a more enjoyable musical experience overall. So it is a matter of keeping you eyes on the goal and enjoying the journey to achieve it. (Uh oh, I feel a motivational poster coming on…)


Oh, I didn’t really just put in a motivational poster did I?! Sorry.


How do you deal with getting motivated? Please share your thoughts the comments section below.





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