Judgement-Based Guitar Goals

Judgement-based guitar goals

Judgement-based guitar goals are nasty. They are easy to spot because they have a judgment embedded within. Here's some examples:

  • "I want to be good at guitar."
  • "I want to be good enough at guitar that my coworkers think I've got it going on."
  • "I don't want to suck at guitar when I play music with my friends."
  • "I want to be so good at guitar that my spouse is in awe of me."

In order for you to accomplish a judgement-based goal, other people have to approve of your playing. For example, if your goal was to make your spouse in awe of you, you are putting your enjoyment of guitar into the hands of your spouse. Let's hope he or she won't crush your spirit. If your goal is to not suck at guitar when you play music with your friends, than you are putting your enjoyment of guitar into the hands of your friends. Let's hope they have some empathy. 

The most pervasive (and nasty) judgement-based guitar goal is, "I want to be good at guitar." Notice how It ambiguously states to be good without stating a person or group of people who can witness it. That's a little... fishy. Beginners who make this sort of goal believe there will be a day where playing guitar is easy and totally amazing. The heavens will open up, and enlightenment will have been reached, they will be considered an incredible guitarist by everyone. Um, yeah, that's never gonna happen. 

When exactly will you reach this plateau of being good at guitar? If you don't reach it, have you failed at guitar? Yes, you have. That, and you've sacrificed a lot of time and energy dealing with not being good at guitar. Think about it.

Rewriting judgement-based goals

Fortunately, it's simple to avoid all of this hassle. Here's a quick way we can rewrite judgement-based goals: Take out all the adjectives and replace them with verbs, then soften the language. So, here's some suggested rewrites of the goals above:

  • Instead of "I want to be good at guitar,”  try “I want to enjoy playing guitar." 
  • Instead of "I want to be good enough at guitar that my coworkers think I've got it going on,” try ”I want to hang out and play guitar with my coworkers."
  • Instead of "I don't want to suck at guitar,” try ”I want to jam with my friends and enjoy playing music with them."
  • Instead of "I want to be so good at guitar that my spouse is in awe of me,” try ”I want to enjoy guitar so much that even my spouse is surprised with my enjoyment of my new hobby.”

It's really simple. Replacing the adjectives with verbs turns a potentially crappy extrinsic goal into a satisfying intrinsic one. In other words, you'll give yourself the authority to judge whether you have reached the goal or not. It's no longer in anyone else's hands.