Enthusiastic About Starting Guitar? (Enjoy It While It Lasts)

Your first burst of enthusiasm for guitar is beginner's luck

The period when you first start learning guitar is marked by enthusiasm. It's exciting! it's fun and adventerous, and... it won't last forever. Sadly, this time of new and fresh appreciation for a chosen pursuit will pass.

But, oh how infectious it is! I know! This burst of enthusiasm is like a free gift certificate that we we receive simply for showing up and getting ready to try something new. It’s like walking into a store and the clerk saying, “Just because you’re here, you get to have $100 gift certificate.” Cool, huh?

And yet, deep inside we all know the truth about this gift certificate: it won't last forever.

What happens when we have spent our gift certificate, our initial buzz of enthusiasm for the guitar? What will we have to show for it? A shiny new guitar that collects dust, a lot of apps on our phones, a stack of books we've never read? What we need to do is prepare for what happens right after our beginner's luck wears off.

The Dip

The dip is what we experience right after we lose the enthusiasm we had when we started our new pursuit. It's a period where our motivation is down, our practice seems uninspired, and our labor seems forced. No matter what pursuit you end up choosing, no matter how awesome the activity that you are engaged with, the honeymoon will end. One day, you will feel the dip.

The wise move is to keep in mind that the honeymoon will not last forever. The wise move is to understand that sooner or later you'll have to deal with the reality of your choices. In our case,  you might realize that you need to practice guitar each day in order to enjoy it further. So, why not use that initial burst of enthusiasm for guitar and make it work for you? Why not turn it into momentum?

Replace the dip with momentum

Enthusiasm can get you started with a sprint, but it's not much of a long-distance runner. It needs to be replaced with something different than just "more" enthusiasm. This is why I am such a big fan of momentum. Momentum has legs that can run for many miles.

Momentum is self-perpetuating fuel. Once we have momentum, we don't think about how enthusiastic we are about a pursuit. We do it because we're compelled to do it. It's like we have this wind that is propelling us forward, the "wind in our sails," so-to-speak. How can we turn the enthusiasm into momentum? Here's some ideas:

  1. Love the process more than the product.
  2. Set worthy goals that are neither urgent, judgmental, comparative, deadline-based, or extrinsic.
  3. Stay hungry, stay foolish, and never allow yourself to be satisfied with where you are.

Learning guitar is partially about creating the correct habits to build skills we need for playing music on the guitar. Without any momentum in our practice regime, we won't come back to the guitar, excited and fresh to learn something new. Nothing lasts forever.