double think

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including “Double Think”, making helpful signs, and more. Here we go…

#1 – Free solo

A few years ago, I watched a documentary called Free Solo.

It is about a guy called Alex Honnold who rock climbed the top of El Captain (3000 feet) without ropes.

Crazy, yeah!


Anyway, last week, my partner Sally and I decided to try bouldering (the name for rock climbing without ropes).

It was great.

At one point, I struggled to do a route and fell off the wall (not high, so I was fine).

The next time I tried it, I changed what I did with my feet and this small change unlocked the path to the top.

One small tweak made a huge difference.


Whilst I’m no expert on climbing…

There are some very strong similarities between climbing and the attitude needed to thrive on guitar.

The instructor summed it up really well when he said why he loves climbing:

“I love it because you have to plan your route (up the wall), be brave, work on your technique, and if something is a challenge, you have to find out why, and then keep on trying and be relentless with it.”

When he was talking, I was thinking, he could be talking about guitar there, and that is one of the reasons why I love the instrument.

Anyway, next one…


#2 – Making signs as powerful reminders

Back in my first teaching room, I used to have various handmade posters on my walls.

These were great reminders for students.

The posters included things like “focus on technique”, “there are no easy songs”, and “have fun and improve one tiny thing every day”.

For students, it was good because it was a constant reminder to them that they are good enough, they can become truly good guitarists, and that it is okay to be patient and enjoy the process.


Scott, a Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy member, mentioned the other day that he made a sign for his wall with some of the things he has learnt from me and others.

If you are into woodwork, craft, art, or anything like that, you could make a sign of the most important reminders you feel you need to hear a lot and hang it on your wall or desk where you practise.

Even if you are not into art, a simple cheat sheet created with pen and paper will have the same effect.

Definitely something worth doing.


#3 – The power of “double think”

I talk a fair bit about motivation as it is so important when learning a challenging instrument like the guitar.

Have you ever heard about “double think”?

I remember reading about it in a psychology book called 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, years ago.

“Double think” is a highly powerful motivator.


Basically, it works like this:

Think about the goals you want to achieve and spend time visualising the benefits of achieving these goals and also…

Think about the possible setbacks that stand in the way.

That’s it in a nutshell.


Basically, the author talks about doing the above as being a more effective way of achieving goals.

The reason why is that thinking about the benefits is highly motivating, yet that is typical advice that we have heard a thousand times.

The author argues it is essential you not only look at the benefits but spend time focusing on the things that may get in the way.


Doing so will prepare you better for hurdles, help you build realistic expectations, and help prevent you from being disheartened when obstacles occur.

I have personally found “double think” to be a really good motivator.

Anyway, there you go, three thoughts for this week.


I hope you have a great week ahead!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. If you want more help and precise lessons on fingerpicking technique, check out my Fingerstyle 101 book/course and the exclusive entry to the Facebook group that comes with it.

Here is the link to find out more:

Fingerstyle 101 – a step-by-step guide to beautiful fingerpicking guitar playing


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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