By Derk Stiepelmann

I recently watched a great workshop on stock trading, presented by a successful stock trader. At one point in his seminar he announced the 5 Secrets of successful stock trading and everyone was on the edge of their seats, waiting for the  magical formula to pick the right stocks to be introduced. 

Here it is:

  • Patience
  • Diligence
  • Discipline
  • Hard Work
  • Determination

Looks of disappointment. 

I had to laugh, because it is indeed the magic formula, to do anything, but it´s the one that nobody wants to see! We want quick fixes, we want illusions instead of reality. We don´t want to hear that something is difficult and that´s why we constantly look for the secret method to do whatever – loose weight, stop smoking, get abs or learn guitar. We somehow can´t stomach that this is what it really comes down to and want to believe anyone who tells us otherwise. The desire to get something for a little is so strong that we keep on searching for the holy grail: the thing that will get us to our goal without friction, without growth, without being confronted with ourselves, without any challenges. Wake Up – it does not exist. 

As long as looking for the easy way is our primary motivating factor, we will always fall flat on our faces and will have to confront reality at some point. 

How do most people react to things getting difficult? They quit. Then they fabricate some nice sounding story to make them feel better and often look for something else that they “have the talent” for the thing that “is meant for them”. And so the cycle repeats. Doing anything well is not easy. 

When people contact me for taking lessons, I ask them a lot of questions, before I even consider taking them on as a student.

I want to make as sure as I can that that person has the grit and endurance for the process and will not quit after a few weeks, when he realises that this is going to more work than expected. Most people come to the guitar for a lot of romantic reasons – they might have seen a video of a guitar player, playing a great guitar solo with his eyes closed and therefore come to the conclusion that it must be easy, because it looked easy. Or they might hold the common dream of playing acoustic guitar at a camp fire for their friends and think that it can be no problem to achieve this, because they are not striving to be a professional musician after all, right? Wrong! Because whatever your goal is, the 5 elements presented above need to be there, just the degree and the timespan over which these elements need to be present varies! Naturally a person who wants to play songs around a campfire does not need the same amount of discipline as someone who wants to be a virtuoso player, but still these 5 elements need to be present to reach his goal, just on a smaller scale and over a shorter time frame. 

To play songs around a campfire and to sound really good is also not easy to do and takes a lot of things that many people are simply not willing to do. You can never reach such a goal if guitar has zero priority in your life and always comes last. You can never reach such a goal if you don´t find a way to integrate a guitar practice schedule into your daily life. If you only dream about learning to play the guitar and go about it in a half-hearted and lukewarm way, it will take forever to get results, so it´s important to be honest to yourself and ask yourself some deep questions about the presence of those 5 elements. 

Your guitar teacher should help you to develop them in your life to get the most out of your guitar practice.

About the author: 

Derk Stiepelmann established the Songwriter´s Shed guitar school in Dortmund, Germany in 2011 and helps his students to achieve their guitar playing goals. If you are looking for guitar lessons in Dortmund, click on the highlighted link.