Perfectionists never learn to play guitar because they're hung up waiting for everything to be just perfect so they can learn. You can often recognize a perfectionist that wants to play guitar because they always have lots of good reasons why they're not learning.
"I don't have time just now, I'm too busy at work. When I've finished this project..."
"I don't have time just now, the kids take up all the time I've got. When they get older..."
"I don't have time because I'm busy with my studies at the moment. When I've finished..."
"I wanted to learn blues but the guitar teacher here only knows classical."
"This guitar is just not right. One day I'll get myself a decent guitar and..."
Do you recognize any of these?
How to Get Over Perfection
If you recognize yourself in any of these excuses then maybe you are a perfectionist too. But don't despair, you're not doomed to never learning how to play guitar. Simply follow the guidance below to smash your perfectionist road blocks and get learning how to play.
Give up waiting to have time
There will never be enough time to do everything. And there will always be something more urgent to do. Accept this and decide to learn guitar anyway.
If you look hard at your daily routine, I’m sure you’ll see lots of little scraps of time. Learn to steal these scraps of time to practice guitar.
Give up waiting to have the perfect instrument/amp/pick/tuner/...
If you're not learning then it's not because you don't have that 1959 Gibson Les Paul.
Whatever you think your perfect guitar should be you will make more progress if you work with the guitar you have now and spend less time watching videos of your dream guitar on YouTube.
Accept that learning is a process
Learning to play guitar is a process. You can’t jump in at the end – you have to start and the beginning and spend time to get to the end (not that there really is an end, but at some point you get good enough). And the trouble for perfectionists is that the beginning is messy...
Accept that the learning process is messy
Perfectionists have a hard time accepting that in order to play well you have to start by playing badly. Learn that playing badly is just part of the process and doesn't mean you’re not perfect.
Accept that you can play guitar badly without feeling too bad about yourself. Instead feel good about being a perfect learner.
Give up waiting to have the perfect teacher
No teacher that plays swamp blues guitar in your town? Shame. You'll never be able to learn to play it, right?
Wrong. You don't need that perfect teacher to help you learn and progress. Sure, it helps if you have a good teacher, and if you have one that knows your style well that’s even better. But if you don't have one handy then you can still learn anyway. Many other guitarists have done it.
Choose one focused thing that you want to learn and go do it. Get some videos, books, join a forum and discuss with others.
In short, give up waiting for everything to be perfect
In short you need to give up waiting for everything to be perfect.
Learning to play guitar is a messy process with plenty of pitfalls and lots of bad playing along the road. So if you want to play guitar, give up your perfectionist ideals, dive into and revel in the mess.
Are you a perfectionist?
What perfectionist trait stops you learning to play guitar or become better? Click the comment link below to share your story.
Photo by dougward.