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What would you think about someone who wanted to become an awesome finger-picker but most of their practice was focused on using a pick? You’d think they were crazy right? And rightly so! But believe me it’s more common than you think. Heck. . . even I’ve been guilty of this more than a few times! I think we all sometimes fall into the trap of practicing things without thinking exactly WHY we are practicing them.

So what’s the cure for this? I can give you the cure in three words. . .

Big Picture Thinking

What’s this? Put simply it means looking at the WHYs and WHATs before looking at the HOWs. It’s looking at the overall picture before becoming focused on the details. Let’s take a look at an example to make it clearer. . .

Let’s say that you would like to learn to shred. Rather than just jumping in and practicing some random exercises, let’s go through the big picture thinking process.

**Step One** Why

In this step you write down exactly WHY you need to become a shredder. Think of all the reasons and write them down. This is really important. Your reasons why help keep you motivated and enthusiatic about working towards your goal. In fact, I can almost guarantee that without a strong, exciting and compelling why you will give up before you reach your goal!

**Step Two** Big Picture What

Write down WHAT you need to achieve. In this case you would write down a detailed description of EXACTLY how you would like to play. What type of shredder do you need to become?

**Step Three** Detailed What

In this step you’ll write down the specific things that you will need to master in order to achieve what you wrote down in Step Two. Here are some example questions that you would ask yourself. . .

* What scales would I need to learn?

* What songs would I like to learn?

* What techniques would I have to master?

* What guitar tutors who live near to me teach shredding?

* What licks and exercises would help me achieve my goal?

* What instructional books, videos or DVDS will I need to buy?

The aim with this step is to get a detailed list of SPECIFIC things that you need to master in order to reach your goal.

**Step Four** How

This is where you write down a detailed practice schedule. This schedule will help you systematically learn what you wrote down in the previous step. If you’re not sure how to put together an effective practice schedule then you may need to hire a good guitar tutor.

Can you see how this works? Rather than just jumping in and practicing, you start with the big picture first then work your way down to the small details. I guarantee that doing it this way will speed up your progress drastically. The main reason why is you will only be practicing things 100% related to your guitar goals.