top of page

The #1 Progress Killer for Guitar

So what is the biggest killer of your guitar progress? I’m not a life coach or a self-help guru, but I do believe I’ve identified one of if not the largest culprit of progress death. Of course, this won’t apply to everyone because everyone's personality is different, but I think this will be true for the majority of people. And besides, it’s good advice no matter who you are. 

Here it is… 

Negativity! Whether you believe you can or can’t do something, you are right.

This is particularly true when it comes to things like playing an instrument. If you don’t believe you can play the guitar the way you want to, then what will be the point of putting in all of that practice? If you do believe that you can play the way you want, then all of a sudden you have a legit reason to invest your time into practicing and learning new things. 

I have a great personal example of this. About 23 years ago, I saw a Doc Watson guitar instructional VHS tape. He was playing the song “Windy and Warm” and I had this thought. “That’s awesome! But I’ll never be able to play like that.” Little did I know that those thoughts would put a self-fulfilling prophecy in motion for the next two decades. I've had the sheet music for this song for a LONG time, and I tried to learn it several times to no avail. 

Fast forward to last week. I got fed up with not knowing this song, so I decided to put the negative thoughts out of my mind and choose to believe that I can learn this song. Well, let’s just say that there will be a new video coming pretty soon for the song “Windy and Warm”. I don’t have the entire thing down yet but it’s almost there and it’s sounding pretty good!

Call it what you want, The Law of Attraction, Positive Professions/Confessions, or I Can Do All Things Through Christ. The main idea is that if you believe you can learn something new on the guitar, you will be able to learn it. It will take hard work and some time, but you will be able to do it. If you don’t believe you can play something, then you probably won’t be able to play it. Heck, you will probably never even start to try learning it!

So I have a challenge for you this week. Keep an ear out for any negative thoughts running through your head as it relates to your guitar playing. Whenever you hear one, make a conscious decision to put that thought away and replace it with a positive thought instead. Pick something you’ve always wanted to learn this week and go for it! Let me know how it goes at If you need help with anything specific, you can book a private lesson with me here on the site. 

If you have any questions or need help getting a plan for succes together, you can schedule a private lesson with me here. The first lesson is complimentary, so there is no risk or obligation.


If you need to get the basics of playing the guitar down, you should go through the Guitar Foundations course here. You can also invest in the accompanying Ebook here. Let us know how things are going for you and if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

Need advice on what strings, picks, accessories, or gear to use? Check out our list of recommended products here.

Please note, this blog may contain affiliate links and ads, please read my full disclosure here.

25 views2 comments


Oct 14, 2020

Thanks Nate. Wow, that’s mind bending. It’s a cliche but.. “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!” It’s like the story of the two wolves competing over opposing views of vital force. Which one wins? The one you feed, of course. I’m challenged by your encouragement to start feeding the wolf that can - I can do this! 


Unknown member
Oct 13, 2020

Well said Nate, I couldn't agree more! I'm a big fan of Rhonda Byrns book and movie The Secret, which really woke me up to how effective and life changing a positive mind set can be. Aside from many other things, It definitely helped me with the progress of my guitar playing as well that's for sure!

Great video and glad you decided to include it in the blog. It's a well needed reminder of how important it is to not let negative thoughts hinder our progress. :-).

bottom of page