Especially how it can affect how we learn an instrument like the guitar.
I mean, after all, we use our brains every single time we do anything on guitar.
…But not just that.
It’s the way our thought patterns make a big difference in learning new stuff.
I was reading a book recently by Professor Richard Wiseman (an inspiring psychologist).
He talks about a battle in the early days of psychology between Sigmund Freud and William James.
Back in the day, these two were at loggerheads with each other.
They allegedly even heckled and mocked each other at their lectures.
Freud believed a lot of psychology was internal, unconscious, and rooted in childhood.
William James, on the other hand, believed “behaviourism” was way more powerful than Freud’s methods.
Behaviourism is about how actions and behaviours affect the brain.
Although far more famous to most people, a lot of Freud’s ideas don’t have much evidence behind them.
…But it was William James who changed psychology, has a Harvard building named after him, and is required reading for many students of the subject.
So, how does this relate to your guitar playing?
To put it simply, we can go down the William James route and use positive behaviours to make you a more successful guitarist.
For example, relating it to the guitar, you can do some or all of these:
Sit with an upright but relaxed and positive posture (posture affects our brains).
Tell yourself every day, “I’m becoming the guitarist I want to be. I can and do play beautiful music.”
Pluck each note with conviction.
Start and finish your practice sessions with some powerful music that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Act confident about your playing when talking to others (without arrogance, of course).
Be proud of your playing and how far you have come.
Look at yourself in the mirror with your guitar and see yourself in a positive light.
Share your knowledge and help others (you don’t have to be an expert to help others).
Be happy and smiley when you play the guitar.
Laugh off errors and mistakes and don’t get negative about them (do get to work fixing them, of course, though).
Breathe deeply and relax as you play (a relaxed body creates a relaxed mind which helps concentration).
All of this is “behaviourism” 101 in many ways, and these are all good habits to get into.
You don’t have to do all of the above, but even just doing one or two of the above will help you play guitar better.
For more help with your playing and lots of specific and super practical advice, you may want to check this out:
P.S. After reading about William James, I think he would have made an excellent guitarist with a great mindset and wonderful habits. Freud, on the other hand, would probably have sat down and badly strummed a D chord, blamed his mother, and wrote a miserable song about it!
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.