I think you should stop saying you’re bad at things that you want to be really good at. There are many reasons why this is a good idea. Here are a few.

False modesty and humility run rampant among creative people. We’ve heard it a million times from a million people, and we probably do it ourselves. When someone compliments your playing do you say “Oh no way, I suck”, or “I’m just trying to hang on”? This is not the behavior of a humble or modest person. Truly humble and modest people say “Thank you”, or “I’m glad you enjoyed the show, thank you for listening.” You don’t have to be humble or modest, but if you want to fake it you should fake it better.

Don’t insult the intelligence or taste of someone who wants to say something nice to you.  If they’re being sincere then your music did what it’s supposed to do. You moved someone to the point of reaching out across the void to actually interact with you, to say “keep doing what you’re doing.” And you say “no I shouldn’t”, in so many words? Isn’t this want you want to be doing?

And if you start saying these things about yourself, you’ll probably start to believe it. It really doesn’t take long. You probably already have a long list of complaints about your playing, things you “just aren’t good at”. I have a list like that, but it doesn’t need to get any longer.

In “The War of Art”, Steven Pressfield talks about the behavior of a Professional. A Professional shows up on time, does the work every day, and doesn’t apologize for the things they do professionally. Plumbers, Electricians, and Accountants don’t apologize after completing their work to the customer’s satisfaction. If your customer (bandmate, friend, musical hero, rival, anyone who hears you play) compliments you, then consider them satisfied with your work. Don’t think it was good enough? Work hard today and do better tomorrow. That’s all you can do.


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