Now that I’m on an intense learning adventure to sing, play guitar, write my own music, and record my own album in 2011, I get to see what it’s like to struggle in the pursuit of a goal in a new category.

The key word is “new.”

I’ve written over fifty books. Writing another one would be easy. I’ve already wrestled with the demons in that category. I won.

But learning how to sing and play guitar is a new category for me. I’m struggling in it.

The struggle isn’t real. Not in any outward, measurable way. But it’s sure real otherwise. The struggle is within; it’s the conscious and unconscious thoughts of self judgment that make us fight with our own progress.

It’s not any fun, either.

Let me explain:

In my third lesson with Daniel Barrett (lead singer for the band PorterDavis), he asked me to play and sing I song I had been working on. (The acoustic guitar version of the Rob Thomas song Lonely No More. See PPS below.)

I did. But as soon as I made a mistake, my body tensed, my playing got awkward, my singing was strained, and my face filled with tension. I was even mad at myself.

Dan’s eyes grew large and he waved his hand to stop me, saying, “Man, you just brought in the entire Gestapo on yourself!”

I stopped.

I took a deep breath.

I reflected on what just happened.

A part of me wanted my singing and playing to be perfect. Even though there is nothing like perfection in the world — none of us can agree on the perfect song or singer, let alone much else — some aspect of my mind had set the bar so high that there was no way I was going to reach it. And when I flubbed, that same mind beat me silly.

I realized what I was doing.

You can’t really learn much when you’re in chains.

I took a deep breath.

I relaxed.

I let the chains drop.

I remembered that the goal is to sing and play and learn, and to have fun as I did so. Yes, I had lots to learn. But beating myself for my efforts wasn’t helping. At all.

Dan and I talked for a while about how we judge ourselves harshly. It’s a learned behavior. We all have it. Try to learn anything challenging and new and you’ll see what I mean.

A part of us is trying to please our inner critics — parents or teachers, family or friends, or even ourselves. We’re trying to learn, but when we don’t meet those invisible high standards and those invisible voices in our head, we lower the boom on ourselves.

That doesn’t help.

No wonder so many people give up on their goals, dreams and intentions.

A lot of who they are listening to, that is talking them out of their own best interests, is their own mind.

As Bruce Barton (who I wrote about in my book The Seven Lost Secrets of Success) once said:

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstances.”

If you’re trying to attract anything in your life, stop trying and start relaxing, all while moving toward your goal with intention, passion and action, and your results will accelerate.

Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with a baby learning to walk, or a puppy you’re training to sit up or roll over.

This is a huge insight.

My going through the process of learning to be a musician is letting me see how this works in me. I’m sharing it so you can reflect on how it works in you, too.

Don’t let the “Mind Gestapo” stop you or slow you.

It’s just a voice.

It’s just self-talk.

But you’re in control of it.

Bring in the Love Army instead.

Love yourself, your process and your present talents.

With love, you can achieve and attract what you want — and you’ll enjoy the adventure all the more.

I’m no longer struggling with playing guitar, singing, or writing my own music.

I’m now in charge of the voices in my head in this new category of learning.

I won.

You can win, too.

PS – This post also illustrates the need for a really good coach.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Joe Vitale is the star of the hit movie, "The Secret." He is also the author of way too many bestselling books to mention here. To name a few: The Attractor Factor, Zero Limits and his latest, Attract Money Now. He's also recorded many Nightingale Conant audio programs, and most recently, "The Abundance Paradigm." He also created a Miracles Coaching program and much more! For more information on Joe Vitale, go to: