I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar.
Maybe it was because when I was young, I have fond memories of my dad strumming and singing to the beautiful sound of an acoustic guitar. I often forget how awfully impressionable we are at a young age.
Although my dad didn’t play very often, he played enough to implant the idea that playing guitar was something I would want to do someday. I find it fascinating that my childhood memories show up every once in a while to rekindle a spark that I had when I was younger.
I once read that much of our beliefs system is formed between the ages of 4-8. Maybe this is a reason why many be people become like their parents when they are older….
My first attempt to learn the guitar was a miserable failure.
I had just completed my university education and was looking for a career. I was a lost soul for a few months. I was lonely because for the first time in my life I was living alone, struggling to find a job and had a lot of free time to do nothing. That is a terrible combination of issues that led to unhappiness.
Overall, it was one of the unhappiest stretches of time in my life. I was a young, ambitious man and I felt like my life wasn’t progressing forward in anyway. In fact, I felt like I was moving backwards… Yes we all go through these “tough times” in life.
So to keep myself busy, I decided to act on a childhood dream by grabbing my dad’s old guitar and borrowing a few “Learn How to Play Guitar” books from the library.
I was motivated to figure it all out. At first, I read the guitar books and played on the guitar for hours. After all, I had nothing else to do.
The first few weeks of learning the guitar was frustrating. With no one to turn to for help and with no prior musical experience I could felt my confidence drop each week. I had a sinking feeling that I was headed towards failure.
I hit my first major roadblock in week 4, when my fingertips split open… I bandaged my fingers and tried to keep playing... However, after a while the pain was unbearable, so I took a couple of weeks off to let my wound heal.
Once I started playing again, my mind started playing tricks on me. I could hear my inner voice telling me things like “I will never learn this”, “I suck”, “This is too hard”, and “My guitar sounds way out of tune”.
The physical injuries I could handle at the time, but the mental voices within my own head took its toll on me.
Then one day, I decided to figure out how to tune my guitar once and for all. As I was tuning my guitar, the sound just never sounded right. I kept tuning and tuning, until finally the string on my guitar snapped. It was over, I couldn’t play anymore. I self-sabotaged myself…
At first, I told myself I would go to the music store to get the string fixed and try again.
I am ashamed to say that I didn’t... Instead I started making up excuses such as “I don’t have a car to drive to the music store” and “the guitar is too awkward to carry in a bus.”
My first attempt to learn how to play the guitar was an utter and complete failure.
But here is the truth, at that point in my life, my failure to learn the guitar was only a small piece of a greater issue. Failing to learn to play the guitar only enhanced the feelings that I already had inside, which was….I myself was a failure.
I was questioning myself on whether I made the right decision to enter the IT world, I was unsure if I was able to continue live alone in a city that was relatively unknown to me, I contemplated to myself what I was doing in this world…I felt truly lost.
Life is hard and meant to be a challenge. We all go through life, trying to cover up the internal messes we have inside by medicating ourselves in our outer lives. Think of all the different types of addictions that exist, think about all the quirky people personalities that we see each day (the need to constantly talk about oneself, the need to criticize others, etc.), and think about all the times we make excuses for ourselves to protect ourselves against more emotional pain…
But life’s true challenge isn’t about mastering the world around us, the real challenge that exists is mastering our own minds and thoughts. How can we expect to live a life full of happiness and fulfillment if something deep inside of us is missing or isn’t right?
If you truly want to change your life for the better, it begins with fixing up your inner world and once your inner world is clean your outer world begins to magically fix itself.
To this day, I still don’t know if I subconsciously snapped my guitar string on purpose. I will never know. I no longer care. What I do know is that during that time in my life, I wasn’t yet ready to play the guitar because my inner world was in shambles. I needed to fix my inner world first before I was ready to pick up the guitar and learn to play the beautiful song of Life.
I picked up the guitar again about a year ago and have been practicing and playing on a daily basis. My guitar skills have now progressed further than I ever expected they would. I guess this time around, I was mentally in the right place to accomplish a childhood dream.
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