Why Successful Guitar Students EXPECT to FAIL

Babe RuthBut hang on a minute. Aren’t successful people positive thinkers? What about the idea of self fulfilling prophecies where if you expect to fail you probably will? Well it turns out that a sign of a successful person is someone who is actually expecting to fail. They don’t want to fail of course and failure is certainly not their goal but they understand that failure happens even with your best efforts.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

I would like to elaborate on these over used words of wisdom and say that ‘Preparing to fail leads to success’. When commercial pilots start out they first learn how to fly a plane. They then spend the rest of their career training in simulators that mimic potential disasters. In other words pilots train for failure so when something like engine failure occurs they can respond and avoid disaster. When we learn to expect failure (and I don’t mean being pessimistic and always expecting the worst) we are not surprise or unprepared.

Failing guitar.

In terms of learning guitar preparing for failure means that you are not going let set backs derail your long term plan to succeed. As a guitar teacher to help beginner students I will ask a question like “What will you do, if in 6 months when you feel like a failure because you can’t learn a particular skill or song? Will you just quit?” Many students will respond by saying they won’t want to quit but I reply with “but what if you do want to quit? What then?” I persist with the question until I get an answer because the fact is almost every student will want to quit in their first year usually on more than one occasion for some reason and the reality is most do quit.  If the student has a plan for those moments that will inevitably come their chances of success rise dramatically. Do you have a plan?

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