Why You WILL Practice

Jan 03, 2023

In our previous blog (Part 1: Why You Won’t Practice), you learned why your “old self” wasn't able to practice in a deliberate, consistent way due to the negative associations you created in the past about practicing.  You also learned about the forces of  'avoiding pain' and/or 'gaining pleasure' that may have kept you from practicing consistently.  

Now you need to use BOTH of these forces again.  However this time you'll use them in a way that you control, not where they control you!  You'll turn your desire to being a great musician into drive, which will help keep you practicing efficiently, effectively and consistently!  In this article, you can learn the initial steps to create a New You in terms of practicing.   To learn all the steps in this transformation, check out our Practice Warriors Masterclass.

Knowledge is great.  Resources are great.  I'm sure you have tons of resources available to you right now that will help make you a better player.  You might have books, videos, private lessons, recordings; so many things that can take you to the next level. 

However, knowledge alone won't cut it.  You've got to have a new attitude when it comes to practicing.  You have to condition your mind in a way where you truly feel differently about practicing, sacrificing time, self-improvement and taking on new challenges. 

As I mentioned earlier, you learned about Sigmund Freud's Pleasure-Pain Principle in our previous blog, and how the associations described by his theory may have unconsciously kept you from practicing.  Now, you are going to consciously use this concept to start to recondition yourself to associate pleasure and pain with practicing in a positive way.  

 Let's get very clear about all the pleasure you'll get from engaging in practicing.  I've written some examples here, so you can follow along.  I also want you to start thinking of other ways practicing can be pleasurable.  These can also be thoughts of how the results of your practice will bring you incredible pleasure and joy. 

“If you practice, you'll get the pleasure of...”

Improving your playing, sounding better and achieving your musical goals. 
Performing in front of your friends and family. 
Playing the music you love at a level you can be proud of. 
Meeting and working with other highly-skilled musicians. 
Knowing you can apply the Pleasure-Pain Principle to anything else in your life. 


Sound great, doesn't it?  Again, these are just a few examples.  You should think about this very deeply to come up with your own personal ways you can connect the feelings of pleasure with practicing.  You may want to take some notes about these feelings (I have the Practice Warriors members write their thoughts down in their Practice Log as part of a larger exercise about this).   

 Funny thing is, even though there may be more positives thoughts and associations than negatives to practicing, all it takes is one or two more powerful negative emotions to overpower all the positive ones combined and keep you from practicing.  The secret is that you've got to find out which of these positive thoughts and associations are inspiring and powerful enough to overpower and overcome the negative thoughts and associations.  When you do this, you'll have created new positive and powerful tools to keep you on track, keep you practicing, and keep you improving!

 The sample list mentioned earlier is a simple and VERY short list of linking the feelings of pleasure with practicing.  But, as we mentioned in the previous article, your desire to avoid Pain is a much stronger motivator than your desire to experience pleasure.  Before, avoiding pain might have kept you from practicing.  But now, you'll use pain as a driving force to inspire you to practice.  

 So, what would be the deep feelings of pain that you'd get from NOT practicing?  


“If you don't practice, you'll have the pain of...”

Not living up to your full potential as a musician.
Not being able to perform for an audience.
Being embarrassed or ashamed of your abilities. 
Failure knowing that you wanted to accomplish something and failed to act. 
Spending money on your instrument but not enjoying it to its fullest potential.
Knowing your other musical friends will be improving while you'll be stagnating. 


Of course, there are a LOT more ways of connecting pain with not practicing.  It's more important what painful associations you can link to not practicing.  That's what'll drive you to get things done.  

Think of it like this: if you look at your instrument and you immediately start to think of how practicing will be painful, and what other more enjoyable things you could be doing at that moment, do you think you'll actually sit down to practice?  Not a chance!  

However, if you look at your instrument and think of all the great joy you'll get as a result of your efforts, and think of all the pain you'll feel if you don't practice, do you think you'll sit your butt down and play?  Absolutely, you will.  In short,  if you think of practicing and your immediate association is pain, you won't practice and you won't make progress.  Conversely, if you link pleasure to practicing and you link pain to not practicing, you'll practice and you'll get better. 

It's that simple!


Note: As mentioned earlier, this article is inspired by Unit 3 in our Masterclass, called Changing Your Mind.  We go over many more concepts and exercises to help you change your attitude and expectations with practicing music.  If you enjoyed this article, try a Practice Warriors membership FREE for 14-days and learn many, many more practicing and self-improvement strategies.  You can find us at https://www.practicewarriors.com

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