By Aldo Chircop

As Sun Tzu famously said about 2500 years ago, every battle is won or lost before it is even fought. Joan of Arc (early 15th century) expressed it as “All battles are first won or lost in the mind.” Henry Ford (early 20th century) would have said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Why do we find this concept expressed by prominent figures throughout the ages, and in wildly different cultures?

Because it’s true! Everything begins and ends in the mind.

The most important element of success – by far - is your belief in your own ability to succeed.

So this is the first principle I want you to absorb:

Expect very little, and you will achieve very little.

Expect a lot, and you will achieve a lot.

Please learn to abandon any self-limiting beliefs you might have about your ability to succeed.

This includes thoughts such as “I’m too old”, “I’m not talented enough”, “I’ve always been clumsy”, “I never had a good ear”, “I don’t come from a musical family”, “My hands are too small”, “My fingers are too thick”, “I’m a slow learner”, “My school teachers said I’ll never amount to anything”, ”My parents never believed in me”, “I used to be bullied, so I must be worthless”, “My friends laugh at my dream of being a rock star”, “I’m too shy to ever perform for other people”, “I don’t have a good memory”, “I’ll never understand music theory”, or any such nonsense.

Talent, age, background, the shape of your hands or whatever else, are meaningless.

The opinions of other people are also meaningless.

The only opinion that matters is your own.

What most determines your success, is your own desire to succeed.

It is vital that you keep reinforcing your mindset and that you defend it from negative influences.

You might have heard that ‘you are what you eat’. I also happen to believe that ‘you are what you think’. Just like the wrong foods can be poison to your body, people with negative attitudes can be poison to your mind.

It is of the utmost importance that you don’t let anyone erode the belief in yourself that you will succeed. Don’t let negative people influence you. Even better, don’t share your goals with those who are quick to criticize the efforts and dreams of others, while never achieving anything themselves.

No matter what you have been told and what you have believed until now, you are worthy of success. If you are still thinking “who am I to believe I can become a great musician”, or feel you need someone’s permission to do it, then here it is:

I hereby give you permission to become a great musician and an enormous success!

If you are the parent or guardian of a child who is leaning to play guitar or any other instrument, then this is for you: I strongly encourage you to always support your child in his or her efforts to improve. Never let them feel discouraged. Always praise them for their efforts whenever they practice at home. Never question their ability to achieve their goals, and never plant seeds of doubt in their mind. Show them that you believe in them, and they will believe in themselves too.

Belief in themselves is the greatest gift we can ever give to our children.

Self-belief is the greatest gift we can ever give to ourselves.

About the author:

Aldo Chircop is a guitarist, composer, producer and guitar teacher based in Malta. He is president and chief instructor of Malta Rock Academy, home of the best blues, rock and metal guitar lessons in Malta.