I love to play music and most of all, to play the guitar – for me it is a joy that my father passed down to me and that I am passing down to my children. I've been in bands, I've played with friends and I've played alone, it doesn't matter – everytime I pick up the guitar I am able to go to a different place sometimes losing myself for 1-hour or more at a time.
Recently I was asked by someone who was trying to learn to play guitar, "how do you stick with it in the beginning?" You see, he really wants to play, but can't motivated himself to get past the initial rough part where there is very little reward for the work you have to put in.
He had taken a few lessons, had learned some of the basic chords so far and had almost mastered 1 scale – but just couldn't stick with it, but he really did have the desire to play guitar.
I asked him this one, simple question:
1. What is the image you have in your head of what you must know before you will have fun playing the guitar?
Sure enough, he had some of the most complex music in his mind – in other words he had an image inside his head that there was not way he was going to enjoy playing the guitar until he could play some very complex music.
My advice was to erase that image from his mind and instead enjoy the guitar every time you pick it up by trying to develop something that hits you deep down inside with whatever chords and notes you know that week.
Lord knows many of the best songs have been written with only 3 chords – so make that your first objective. Now allow yourself to fool around with those 3 chords. Have fun with them – let yourself feel the chords and come up with something original, you'll be amazed with what happens.
Then, next lesson, learn one new scale, record yourself playing a simple 3 chord progression and see what you can do with your first scale over top of the chords.
In short, my advice was "to lighten up" and understand that you can be creative with very little knowledge of the guitar and then build on that each week.
The same goes for anything you are trying to accomplish in life. We often build up such a massive image of where we need to be that we forget to enjoy each subsequent step in getting there. So, erase those perfect images and just have fun with whatever it is you are trying to accomplish in your life – you will likely find that you will get to that perfect image much faster AND you will have a ton of fun along the way.