This ONE THING Determines Whether Or Not You Will Ever Play Guitar Well

In my experience as a musician and guitar teacher, I’ve noticed that there are typically two kinds of guitar players:

There are guitar players–whether they’re casual strummers, or aspiring musicians–who get the results they want in their playing, and reap the rewards of being able to play the way they’ve always wanted…

… and there are people who wish they could play guitar how they want, but never get there.

There is only one thing that separates these two types of guitar players:


Your mindset is your perception of the world in which you live. It is your set of beliefs, your internal compass, that guides your decisions and drives your actions.

Your mindset can be your best friend, the sword and shield with which you approach life… Or it can be your worst enemy, a toxin that poisons your thoughts and actions, dragging you down.

The good news is that your mindset is something over which you have complete control–YOU, and only you, can make the decision to adopt a certain mindset.

The bad news is that having a successful mindset is not a one-time choice that sticks around forever. You have to make the decision to adopt a certain mindset, and then continually protect it, reinforce it, and maintain it. You have to build it and make it stronger, like a muscle.

Now, you may be wondering… What the heck does this have to do with playing guitar?

Your mindset about your guitar playing–what you believe you can achieve–will dictate whether or not you will ever play guitar the way you really want to.

At this point in my teaching career, I can talk with somebody about their guitar playing and tell within 5 minutes whether or not they’re going to achieve their goals.

Their body language, the tone of their voice, even the look on their face all reflect their mindset.

So what kind of a mindset will ensure that you achieve your guitar playing goals, and how do you cultivate it yourself?

Good question.

Here are the steps that you need to take to not only develop a rock-solid mindset, but virtually guarantee that you will be able to play guitar the way you’ve always wanted:

  1. Define clear goals, and write them down.

Your chance of success is only as good as the goals you set for yourself.

Trying to be successful without clear goals is like going on a trip without deciding on a destination.

You’ll drive around aimlessly until you end up somewhere…. And that “somewhere” probably won’t be the place where you really want to be.

The first step in developing a successful mindset is having a clear goal defined.

Maybe you want to write your own music, or play in a band. Maybe you want to be able to confidently play your favourite songs and have a fulfilling hobby.

It doesn’t matter what your goals are, but you must have them.

  • Define WHY you want to achieve those goals.

This is just as important as having goals in the first place.

The reasons WHY you want to achieve your goals are the things that will motivate you to make the right decisions and take action to achieve your goals.

As I mentioned before, your mindset is not a one-and-done deal. You must continue to build it and reinforce it.

Having a clear idea of why you want to achieve your goals is going to help you to maintain your mindset and push towards success when other things stand in your way.

  • Create a plan.

Your plan is your step-by-step guide to how you are going to get from where you are right now to where you want to be.

To revisit our analogy from above: having goals without a plan is like going on a trip without a road map.

If you’re lucky you may eventually get to your destination, but you’ll drive all over the countryside before you finally get to where you want to go.

It’s much faster (and in terms of playing guitar, a lot more fun) to have a clear plan of attack to achieve your goals.

You’ll end up being able to play how you want much faster, and you’ll be able to enjoy your success for much longer.

  • Make the decision to succeed, and commit yourself to the process.

A mentor of mine frequently tells his clients “success is a choice”.

I couldn’t agree more.

Once you have clearly defined goals, reasons why you want to achieve them, and a plan to get there, the only thing standing between you and success is your decision to succeed.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be difficulty. Nobody becomes a good guitar player overnight, or without effort.

But unless you make the decision that you WILL achieve your goals, and commit yourself to doing what you need to do to get there, everything you’ve done in steps 1-3 is worthless.

Now, what if you’re not sure if you can achieve your goals? What if you lack the firm belief that you can do it?

That brings me to our final step:

  • Get help.

The best thing you can do to ensure that you achieve your guitar playing goals is to find a qualified guitar teacher who is trained in helping players like you succeed.

A high-quality guitar teacher will be able to help you set clearly defined goals, and create a step-by-step plan to help you get there.

The best guitar teachers are also excellent coaches. They are in your corner supporting you, cheering you on, motivating you to take the steps you need to take to achieve your guitar playing goals.

They can support you when things get tough, and help you avoid unnecessary roadblocks that you may run into if you try to go at it alone.

At the end of the day though, YOU are the one playing the guitar.

I tell all my students: “I can tell you what to do, I can show you how to play to make it easier, I can help you play better, and get there faster… But I can’t play the guitar for you”.

Your mindset–your ability to make the decision, and stick with it no matter what–is what will determine whether or not you actually succeed.

Jordon Brosseau is a professional Canadian musician and guitar teacher. He is an avid reader and a vinyl enthusiast. If you are looking for guitar lessons in London, Ontario, be sure to give him a call!