Back in the early 1990’s, I got into all that personal development, personal power stuff similar to those Tony Robbins’ Personal Power seminars. I got through most of the training, but then realized that the person who ran the business wasn’t actually interested in people becoming personally powerful in the world; she devised her programs so that people felt personally powerful only within the context of her programs. I saw through all that, and a few of us successfully broke away from the organization.
Mind you, it wasn’t that I didn’t learn anything. In fact, I learned life lessons that allowed me to face and process the skeletons in my closet and truly grow. For that, I’ll be forever thankful for having participated in the programs that I did. One particular lesson that I’ve carried with me since then, and have consistently applied to everything that I do comes from a simple phrase that one of the leaders riffed on during a session. It goes like this:
There’s a fine line between dreams and reality, and that line is called “willingness.”
Talk about the sky opening for me when I first heard that. It was a purely revelatory experience when I heard that phrase because it gave me a vital key to taking on any endeavor and completing it successfully. That phrase alone makes ANYTHING possible to achieve. Why? Simply because if you wish to attain anything; be it a skill, a material object, some abstract thing, all you need to do to start on the path of attaining it is to be willing to attain it; willing to do what it takes to attain it; willing to face your fears and doubts and let them move through you for you to be successful.
So where does all this lead with respect to guitar gear? I think I’ll answer that in a roundabout way, simply because the answer requires some context. At least for me, I acquire gear for one purpose: To make music. With respect to gear, it has never been about having the “best” of anything- though I have some pretty nice stuff. It has always been getting gear to expand my tonal palette. Yes, I do indeed have lots of gear, but I also have a fairly wide range of musical styles that I play, and it’s constantly in flux; sometimes it’s pretty simple; other times it’s pretty complex. I’m in a fairly simple stage right now where I’m either going direct into an amp with no effects, or only have a couple of modulation pedals in front of the amp, or running a clean amp and using just distortion and/or overdrive pedals to “help” the drive.
For me, my aim has always been to be a well-rounded musician, and have the flexibility and adaptability to play a variety of styles. While many know me as a rock singer and musician, I also sing country/western, blues, folk, broadway, contemporary christian and even opera. I never wanted to be limited to a specific genre of music. I’ve performed (and have gotten paid 🙂 ) in all these genres. To do all these different styles of music is and has been hard work. I knew it going in, but the point to all this is that I was willing to commit myself to learning all these styles. The net result is that I do over 100 gigs a year and I’m at a point in my musical career where I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.
To close out, willingness is closely related to choice. Life is a system of choices. You’re where you’re at now because of the choices you made, and you made those choices because you were willing.
Just some food for thought…