Being an air guitarist naturally had its benefits.
Flawless playing. Adoration. Immediate success.
But all that came with a price.
I could master any song as quickly as I desired – strumming patterns, chord progressions, and lead parts flowing seamlessly together.
Yet, when I actually picked up my instrument my fingers couldn’t live up to my brain’s expectations.
I had created an unrealistic, inauthentic view of who I was and what I could actually do – a view I bought into fully.
I desperately wanted to be as good as my imagination allowed. But the fear I wrote about in part 1 stymied any true progress.
I could have practiced to compensate for my deficiencies. Instead, I fortified my imaginary ability – steadily building up the false image.
This tendency extends into the rest of my life.
I gain just enough (fill in the blank) to become confident, then hold that intellect, skill, opinion, whatever in increasingly high regard in my mind, creating a false image of who I am, what I can do.
The Bible calls this haughtiness or high-mindedness, and it’s deadly. Not just to me but, more importantly, to those around me.
- When I finally come up against someone who is smarter, more skilled, better trained, I have to tear them down (at least in my mind) in order to maintain my mentally-created high status. I have to do damage to another person.
- If I maintain my false image, I will never really grow. My guitar playing is a perfect example. I became content to live inside my mind and never really develop as a guitarist.
My guitar playing has definitely exceeded that of my early years, but I often wonder “What if?” What if I hadn’t been so afraid?
I also have to ask: What other areas in my life are underdeveloped because I’m afraid to grow.