What's the point? 🤔

Some interesting philosophies here, all valid of course.
We’re quirky, inconsistent little characters, all suffering, in varying degrees, from chronic malcontent; for some fairly minor, for others, bordering on oppressive. Not necessarily a bad thing in some ways, for it keeps us going in a world that tells us we have to get to the ‘future’.
For my guitar playing, I’m somewhat driven to keep improving. Its a challenge, its mostly fun, and often rewarding. I like to learn songs, riffs, solos etc as accurately as my current skill allows, as I can then take those techniques, ideas, skills etc, and put bits in my back pocket. Using these to create something of my own is where the real buzz is for me currently. For now, its still relatively foundational, but the joy of doing it ‘in the moment’ makes me strive for development.
In some other areas of my life, I’m not really driven to ‘improve’ at all. If I’m content where I’m at in certain areas, why move?
Differing perspectives is what keeps us alive. If everyone else were a carbon copy of myself, I’d be talking to myself endlessly, and die of boredom.
Its your character, play it how you like this time round. There are no real axioms in this unfolding drama.
Alan Watts, a self-confessed rascal, who I consider one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers across any time period, puts it this way;
[Be sincere about life, surely, but try not to get too serious about it.]

Cheers Shane


“I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.”
–Bobby D


Absolutely. The most dramatic examples are from my time as a police officer (25 years.) I knew people who were constant problems who turned their lives around and became productive members of the community.

Having been a cop for all those years made me pretty cynical and distrusting, but I’m really sad for anyone who thinks that self-improvement is not possible.

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There are still unexplained mysteries in the world (how would that work?) :joy:


I love a bit of philsophy… this thread was a long read. But sitting by the pool, with a beer in hand, enjoyable (ahh, summer holidays in Australia…)

I’m still at that phase of my guitar journey where I’m trying to improve. But I fully get the perspective that at a point, it’s about doing it, rather than striving for improvement - however you define that.

I look at other areas of my life as a parallel. Running, where I’ve been a casual runner for years, but getting older - “just” 40 - has issues. I track my runs and my longest was back in 2014. I got some PBs for speed in 2020 but then had a plantar fascia injury. My goals are to get out 3x a week now. Not speed or distance. I’ve got to manage an injury. It’s the same with gym. I haven’t been consistent since 2019. I want to improve - but I’m far below my peak, still. Will I ever get back to similar lifts as when I was in my late 20s? Not sure.

I like what @sclay says. We can’t all be improving in everything all the time, even if we want to. There’s just not enough time.

Isn’t guitar also about making music, expressing yourself or playing something meaningful to you (that someone else wrote)? That’s also relevant.

Everyone that’s here, is here for a reason. Whether that’s improving guitar, learning songs, sharing weird songs no one knows on the internet, or because they found a forum people will pay attention to them… there’s a reason.


What a wonderful read.

I tip my hat to all who have contributed and shared their thoughts.

A little more that came to mind reading the update …

@Mari63 what a wonderful quote and image. Does remind me of ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse’, both from a philosophical point of view as well as the drawing.

In this conversation I do think again about Carol Dweck and Fixed vs Growth Mindset. I’ve spoken about this in my Learning Log as have other at various points along with the conversation about inate talent.

Am I driven to be the best I could be. No. I am sure I could be better at this point in my guitar playing, music making adventure. For a start, less time in the Community and more time practicing, less time playing guitar and more time in deliberate practice. But this fulfills a particular set of needs in my life and being the best I could possibly be is not important.

On a personal note, perhaps I am just that person who lacks that level of drive and ambition. So today I am a fine example of unfulfilled potential in many respects and in many areas of live have not reached the levels I might have done with more drive and ambition.

But I do try and do the best I can given my current level of proficiency. And when I reflect on 2022, I am feel I am realistic and objective when I say I have improved my ability to perform at my current proficiency level and did broaden that with some focus on lead technique and improv.

I think performance quality sits on some kind of curve, maybe normal distribution (I’m no statistician), so changing the shape of that curve to move the mean and median performance levels to a high level is also improvement, and I think I have.

Rather than destination and goals I think direction and having a north star is more effective. I think it works to have that north star, that sense of ultimate goal that is near of not impossible to attain, determine your process to move towards it, and then track you performance of the process. If you stick to your process and continue to move towards the north star than in my mind you are improving, becoming better. I think this will lead to joy and satisfaction. If not, well time for deeper retrospection.

And in all this there is a degree of relativity, informed by factors like age, opportunity, etc. Absolute measures serve some purpose at times but in the context of music, not for me.

Again, must say I am loving reading this. It is much like the conversations I have with my LBro, not our Community LBro. He is an artist in Brazil and we connect via WhatsApp video call every Sunday for a conversation that runs 1.5-2 hours in duration. Much philosophy and frequently all about learning, the pursuit of mastery.

And in an unexpected turn, a sudden impulse I asked him to share one of the chess books he is currently using in his pursuit of greater chess mastery. And now I find myself happily engaged in some chess time. If anybody wants a game, send me a message. Note that I am a better guitar player than chess player, which given my level of guitar-playing proficiency is saying something about my chess rating (if I had one). But the point it is it still satisfying to play, to try and play a little better, and the fact that I think it is 100% safe to say I shall never give my LBro a game (until he reaches that decline in mental capacity that may come with age) does not take anything away.

OK, that’s enough further rambling from me …


Yes ,…

and in the sense of ‘better than they should be’ (This is where my poor english comes up, because it doesn’t quite cover the load i think) …also yes,…i know people who tried to do so much good that they lost their own health and happiness,…


Fascinating topic!

I think, as far as guitar learning, this is probably correct. We are all here to learn, and that involves improving on the skills we have. Now, that may look very different for different people, as their overall aims may be different. We may learn different guitar skills, and we may learn them at vastly different paces, but, I would say that we are all trying to improve, yes. It’s a learning community, so, improvement is part of its very telos.

Where I might push back on this original post, is I don’t think this applies to everyone in every human endeavor. Some people are very happy with where they are at in some domain, and have little or no desire to change. Take me for example. I love riding bikes. I ride many types, road, mountain, gravel, cyclocross, trials… In mountain biking, I am a beginner-to-intermediate rider, and I’m fairly happy to stay exactly where I am. I am happy to ride the same sorts of trails I have always ridden, and it brings me a lot of joy. One of my friends, though, he is the opposite. He’s all about improvement. He will mention it to me while we are on a mountain bike trip, telling me things like, “As long as you’re trying to push yourself.” I actually get a bit angry in response because, frankly, I’m happy riding my beginner trails and am usually not looking to do anything more advanced, and I don’t think he should be pushing me to do more advanced, and therefore more dangerous, trails.

So, in some life domains, like me in mountain biking, some people are happy to rest on a plateau while others want to constantly push themselves to ever-increasing heights.


Ross, have you been secretly watching me practice? :rofl: :joy: :smiling_face_with_tear:

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This is the stuff…

This is why I love this community.
Where fresh views and years of experience join in and share different perspectives in a broad view… with a cozy fuzzy blanket of “safe space” and a philosopher’s hot chocolate…


We all deteriorate as we get older, no one can argue that.

It’s horses for courses isn’t it. Just do what makes you happy and life will be good.

Everyone here is united in a common goal, to play guitar regardless of skill level and drive. We all have a passion for music/guitar and the pleasure that it brings us.

Group hug anyone?


I grow up in a small community and went to school with many indigenous people. Many of which are still friends. They have a big respect for their elders. David remark about having a North Star reminded me of this.

I’d like to share a little piece of advice given to me by an elder when I was still in grade school

“Always shoot for the stars even if you only reach the tree tops”

Maybe that is what drives @Kasper and myself to keep improving our skills on the guitar, we have not reached the tree tops yet and are still aiming at the stars. Kasper’s a lot closer to the top than I an.


Fair and true advice. A lot to like here. I would only add that you surely meant stars, and unless you are looking to find your own voice you are reaching for someone else’s stars, and if you’re lucky you will reach their trees. Better to set your own course, align with your own star and the trees won’t even come into view. It’s liberating. Either way, it’s always cool and never wrong to just pick up the guitar and play whatever you want. There is room for everyone at the launch pad. :slight_smile:


Good catch fixed.

You are always pushing this “find you own Voice” and knocking people for learning cover songs or leads. Has it ever dawned on you that you can learn a lot for learning how other musician play and use that in your own playing. You should try it you may find you’ll learn something you could add to you voice.


Origin stories :wink:
I can be pedantic at times :roll_eyes:
My kids school used to tear their hair out, when they’d send home parent/pupil/school agreements to sign at the start of the year.
I’d get my pen out and cross out where the school pledged to be firm but fair replacing it with me wanting them to be fair and firm whenever necessary :rofl:


I’ve found some very interesting , and in some cases surprising comments on this thread. I’ve just turned 60 and have never been as seriously interested in guitar as I have in the last 4 or 5 years. I’ve ‘dabbled’ for probably the best part of 30 years and been no more that a grim strummer, up to the last few years when I had almost a ‘bulb light’ moment when I knew that guitar was what I really wanted to do. I have never been happier with my guitar playing than the stage that I am just now. I have never been a fingerpicker but am now spending a lot of my time trying the exercises and am actually enjoying them. I know I’ll never be a good guitar player in the grand scheme of things, but in my house…well, I’m the king of the castle (when the wife isn’t in).
I’ve just been to a great friend of mine’s dad’s 100th birthday party today and my thoughts are…live life, enjoy life and love what makes you happy. If the fingerpicking for me doesn’t work out, I’ll not be upset. Enjoy folks!


You know the joke is obtuse when I end up googling mierenneuker

As to you being pedantic… hadn’t noticed :joy:


I took it as being an inside joke that only Rogier would know as Brian called him an ant further down the post :smirk:


‘ant fu**er’ :laughing:


Poor Rogier is going to choke on his corn flakes in the morning when he reads that post brian :rofl: