Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Best Investment I Ever Made

For those who may not know, I’m a licensed stock broker and investment advisor, so legally, I can’t make any investment recommendations on a public platform. Thankfully the best investment I ever made has nothing to do with the stock market.

My 33rd birthday will be here in a couple months which means I've been playing guitar for 20 years. To give you an idea of how long that really is, consider the pouch that I keep my guitar tools in…

This is the pouch from the “Pepsi Stuff” sunglasses I saved points for in 1996… 
This was a couple years after I started playing guitar. 

I consider buying my first guitar the best investment I ever made. Here's why.

1. It’s given me hours of mental stimulation, relaxation, and entertainment.
When I’m playing guitar, time disappears. I used to practice for hours and hours every single day. These days I only get an hour here of there, but the more I can get, the better.

2. It’s a perfect outlet for frustration.
You can play angry songs on the guitar. You can play sad songs on the guitar. You can write nasty songs about your job on guitar. Learning how to play Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Texas Flood” helped me get over a breakup. Writing “10 o’clock Tuesday” helped me get through a bad day at work. I have no doubt that there are difficult times ahead of me and I'll pick up guitar to help get through them.

3. Guitar rarely causes me to lose sleep at night.
Have you ever talked with someone who’s made a bad investment? I do every day. They're not pleasant. Bad investments are stressful and can keep you up at night. The only time I ever lose sleep over guitar is when I have a good song in my head and I want to get it on paper before I forget it.

4. It’s allowed me to travel the country.
I remember standing and looking at the Statue of Liberty and asking the other guitarist in my band "Did you ever think learning to play guitar would bring you this far?" It was a surreal moment. Playing guitar has taken me through Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan (by mistake), Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

5. It’s allowed me to make a lot of great friends.
Some of the best friends I have are a direct result of playing the guitar. My former band mates and the friends we made on the road all hold a special place in my heart. This alone makes the time I've spent playing a worthwhile investment.

6. I met my wife thanks to guitar.
We started hanging out after we met at one of my shows.

 Seriously, why would a babe like this ever give a nerd like me a second glance? Guitar. Nuff said.

7. Guitar taught me the growth mindset
There are two types of mindsets. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A person with a fixed mindset believes that they’re either good at something or they’re not. I used to fall into this category. Then I started playing guitar. I was terrible. I remember thinking I’d never be able to play a Power Chord, but I worked at it, and eventually I could. Then I remember thinking it would be impossible to play an E-Form Bar Chord. How on earth was I going to hold down 6 strings with only 4 fingers? But I worked at it, and eventually I could. A person with a growth mindset believes they can be good at anything if they work hard at it. Developing a growth mindset has opened the door to countless opportunities for me and I've got guitar to thank for that.

I guess you could say guitar has helped me make money, and I suppose that adds to its value, but most of the money I've made playing guitar has been spent buying more guitar gear, so it hasn't exactly been profitable. In reality, I could probably buy a new car with all I've spent on guitar gear... but money isn't everything. Right?

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