One of the many pasttimes I took up during the last two years of my transformation has been teaching myself to play the guitar. I am no John Mayer but I think I’ve established a fair degree of proficiency considering the fact that I’ve had very little time to dedicate my instrument. While I learnt to play the guitar the guitar also taught me some lessons about life.

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  1. There is no substitute for practice. You need to put the hours in building up those calluses hitting the wrong strings. Until you have you’ll never gain mastery of your instrument. It is said that you need to 10000 hours of practice to attain mastery of any skill. The only way to get there is one hour at a time.
  2. You get what you practice. Make sure that when you’re practicing you’re practicing playing the correct way. Your body doesn’t know the difference between the correct way to play and the incorrect. Avoid shortcuts learn the correct form. Practice using the correct form, pay the price now and you’ll reap the benefits down the line. Similarly in life if you spend your time practicing and focusing on bad behaviors don’t be surprised when you become really good at being bad.
  3. Two hands acting as one. Playing the guitar is a true lesson in synergy neither hand can achieve individually what they can achieve together. Playing with feeling can only happen when your hands move as one. Each knowing the position of the other. There is an economy of movement a grace to the guitarist movement that should be a guide to all of us. The guitarist moves his hands no more than he must to get to the next note. Ensuring that he is able to give voice to each beat and to give each beat life. Live your life this way. The only way to succeed is when you are able to find this inner synergy.
  4. Timing is everything. Playing music is all about keeping time. The guitarist needs keep his playing in time with the rhythm. Within the constraints of the rhythm the guitarist has complete freedom to explore himself within the music. Similarly in life there are immutable laws like timing which we cannot change but we can rule our lives within them if we only open our eyes and ears to see them.
  5. Less Haste and more Speed. The Guitarist like any musician understands that speed is key it’s not about knowing what note to play but rather it’s about knowing when to play what not. Music is a rich tapestry of sound and silence. Knowing when to keep quiet is often as important as knowing when to play. Don’t rush your playing. When you’re truly invested in playing much like when you’re fully invested in living you will feel the urge to hurry along. Resist this urge remember the right note at the wrong time is as destructive as the wrong note at the right time

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