A Master Guitarist’s Opinion on Achieving Success

In December 2009, I got the chance to ask a world master guitarist’s opinion on achieving success.

For those that don’t know him, John Petrucci is one of the world’s best known electric guitarists. Being me, I couldn’t resist asking him “What is the most important thing in achieving success?”

He replied that it was hard to put it down to a single thing and that it probably came down to four:

  1. Putting in the time and effort to practise
  2. Surrounding yourself with other successful musicians
  3. Being smart business-wise
  4. Writing your own music

While  thinking about this recently, I realised that these weren’t just applicable to being successful in music, but in my other areas in life. If we were to generalise, we might come up with four new points, which I think are worth further discussion:

  1. Putting in the time and effort to get better at whatever it is you want to be successful in – Generally speaking, you can’t get better at something without at practise. You need a balance of time spent on task and effective use of that time. You need to strive to get better and better.
  2. Surrounding yourself with other successful people in your chosen area – We all know that the attitudes of our friends and family can influence us, both positively and negatively. Hanging out with the wrong crowd will only cause you trouble while hanging out with successful people is bound to propel you upwards. I know it sounds harsh, but if you have people in your life who are continuously bringing you down, you’ll need to cut them out or severely limit the impact that they manage to have on you. Find people who help to propel you forward (and return the favour).
  3. Being strategic with your success – You can’t jump in all gun-ho without a plan and without doing some preparation. Yet you also can’t spend your whole life planning to make a move and never getting around to making one.
  4. Creating and adding to what is already available in your area – Things don’t progress without new eyes, new opinions, new versions of what already exists. Develop your own take on things that work better for you and even for others. (Guess why I started this blog?)

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