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10 Things Only Guitarists Would Understand

10 Things Only Guitarists Would Understand

Passion is one of the more prominent and admirable human traits. Most times people talk about being in the zone, it usually means that they managed to tap into their passion for work, hobby, or some other activity they really adore. We instinctively associate music with passion. Guitar players, due to the nature of their instrument, have the most expressive presence. As soon as somebody mentions a guitar player, we get an image of a stage with a guitar player blasting a solo on it.

Similar to mastering any other art, learning the guitar (electric or acoustic) has its trials and tribulations. It isn’t pure expressionism all day long. Guitarists can come off as unreasonable from time to time. However, being that I consider myself to be one of them, I have a closer insight into the problems they can run into.

Here are the some things all guitarists can relate to.

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1. You understand pain is part of success

Most people who have never taken a serious shot at learning to play the guitar are not aware how painful the process can be. Your fingertips blister and chafe. Your wrists, forearms, and shoulders hurt and cramp up. Your back kills you. And yes, after a while, your head can even begin to ache. Still, as time goes by, you overcome the pain and reap new skills that allow you to shred like never before!

2. You understand the importance of security

Guitars and guitar equipment (amps, pedals and so on) are quite expensive. Sure, there are budget solutions out there, but let’s be honest, that gear doesn’t really give you a tone you are looking for. A quality guitar costs somewhere around $1,000, and up to even $5,000. Let’s not even mention the guitars that belonged to famous guitarists (they can go up to millions of dollars). Amps and other gear included can stack up to a pretty substantial sum in gear. This gear isn’t too hard to transport — and therefore steal. Guitarists are very emotional about their gear. They don’t view it as mere objects they paid money for. This is why they always keep their home very secure. Losing a favourite guitar to theft is something that happened to big stars like Zackk Wylde, BB King (God rest his soul), Satriani, and many others.

3. You are aware of the hardships of being in a band

My friend once said: “Being in a band is like being in relationship with 2-4 people at the same time”. And yes, a band break up is just that, a massive break-up where nobody gets spared of drama. (Ok, maybe the drummer). There is an awful lot of talking, bickering, compromising, trash talking, behind the back talking, and all out shouting matches throughout the course of a band’s life. Things get even crazier when money starts to go around. This is why experienced guitarists hone their people skills because they know they are going to need it.

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4. You know the pain of being asked to play one of the “classics”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit, anyone? How about, Smoke on the Water? Maybe Nothing Else Matters is a bit more up your ally? No? Well, unfortunately these are some of the most commonly requested songs when people learn that you are a guitar player. Personally, I always had an aversion towards learning these songs, not because I don’t like them but because they are clichés. I can play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and have enough skill to play the others as well, but ultimately, what’s the point? A bravo from someone who never played a note on the guitar? That’s not why I started playing, no offence intended.

5. You know what cable hell means

If you have proper gear, you have miles of cables to go along with it. This is where proper “cable hygiene” needs to kick in or you are set on a course for disaster. Imaging playing a gig and losing 5-10 minutes on finding which damn cable stopped working! Now, that’s awkward.

6. You keep an eye on non-guitarists handling your equipment

Some guitarist twitch even when other guitarists mess with their gear — let alone people who never held a guitar. Many even forbid anyone from touching their baby. This is all quite understandable when you take into consideration that experienced guitarists have setup their instruments to fit them perfectly, and any minor adjustments might destroy that setup they spent years creating. Furthermore, clumsy guitar handling can lead to some nasty accidents that no amount of apologies can atone for.

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7. You are a hopeless tech geek

Guitarists are always waiting for that next big innovation the guitar industry is going to come up with. We love making predictions and fantasizing about that imaginary piece of gear that we dream of having. Sometimes, we hit the nail on the head with our predictions, sometimes we miss completely, but even greater minds have had partial success with their predictions. Some guitarists even go as far to modify their gear themselves. However, this requires tremendous knowledge and skill to do properly.

8. You notice when people can’t play in movies or videos

Lil Wayne is the freshest example of that — with an added bonus of having the audacity to let his “solo” really be heard live. We can debate about style until kingdom come, but the fact is that his skill isn’t even basic.He should definitely sit down and practice some more before the next live solo.

9. You see the irony in guitars used as ornaments

Anyone who struggles with gathering enough money for gear like I do will feel the pain of seeing a guitar hung on a wall with no intention of ever using it to play something. A guitar is not a decoration. There is absolutely no reason to leave it hanging on a wall. If you bought it, grab it sometime, and spend some quality time with it. It might become your new best friend.

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10, You understand what it means to get lost in the moment

A lot of people believe that guitar players practice their performance moves. And it is true for some. Still, the most authentic and emotion filled “moves” are actually natural reactions of the guitarist’s body to the emotion they feel while playing. Jimi Hendrix had it, Jack White has it, Josh Homm definitely has it. You can really see and feel that it is natural. The same thing happens to players who get lost playing while at home, sometimes even sitting down. There were thousands of moments when I sat at home playing for nobody but myself, yet at one moment I just had to get up and start moving. It is an instinctive reaction to being hyped up by your own playing, not a rehearsed performance.

I hope I managed to bring up some points most guitarists agree with, and that I managed to shed some light on what you get from playing this instrument. There are not the only universal points, of course. Please, feel free to point out those that I missed. Have fun playing — and may your string never break mid-performance!

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Aleksandar Ilic

Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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