The Forgotten Contract – Legal Business

Before we can begin to learn, there is a bit of legal business we need to take care of: the forgotten contract.

How many of you at some point in your lives have ever been told that “perhaps music isn’t your thing”, or the e-music-ulating statement, “don’t give up your day job”?

Or worse yet, how many of you have actually started a music lesson or musical conversation the the words, “I’m no good at…” or “I have terrible rhythm.”?

These types of statements may seem benign and harmless, or merely conversational, but sub-consciously they are huge; the equivalent of signing in ink, a legally binding contract. You see, our subconscious won’t let us be liars – if we say we are bad at something, then we are. (On the other hand, if we say we are good at something, then our subconscious tries its hardest to make that true, as well.)

It is this contract that we need to render invalid before we can move on to learn things.

Fortunately, this is easily done.

First, let’s see if we can locate some of those old forgotten contracts. Did one of your teachers tell you that you were untalented or shouldn’t play an instrument? Now imagine a document that represents that scene; a parchment paper complete with fancy writing, plenty of legal mumbo jumbo and your signature down at the bottom that signifies your willingness, conscious or not, to go along with the agreement.

See it?

Now tear it up. Destroy it. Wad it up, stomp on it, light it on imaginary fire! It’s the only copy – no one will ever know it’s missing.

Go through this process with as many negative incidents as you can remember, and just for extra measure, imagine one giant all-inclusive contract that covers any ones  you forgot.

Destroy it!

Now that you are free of any contractual obligations that will hinder you from learning – be careful not to inadvertently create any new ones.

Avoid statements such as: “I am not good at…..”

Instead you could say: “I wasn’t good at…….”¬† or “I am working on my….”.

These statement acknowledge that fact that you may not be up to speed and as good as you want to be, yet leave the door open for improvement.

(It’s hard to break the habit of making these negative statements about yourself and your abilities, but just being aware of these statements is the first step to learning how to re-phrase your self limiting comments.)

Okay… now that we have taken care of those unsettled, unhelpful contracts, we can proceed.

What do you want to learn?

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16 Responses to “The Forgotten Contract – Legal Business”

  1. fayh Says:

    Good post.

    Thanks, Fay

  2. mary atkinson Says:

    I’ve been wanting to hear some of your philosophy, Rhan. Thank you.

    • Rhan Wilson Says:

      Hi Mary,
      Thanks for commenting on this post. This blog site is filled with my philosophy on playing music and “allowing” oneself to create. I am glad you like it!

  3. GL Says:

    Awesome post – thanks so much. I know that people believe what we tell them. If I tell someone “I’m no good at that” they’ll believe me. I now realize that I believe it myself! I’m inspired to go create something positive! THANKS again!

  4. Marilyn Says:

    I’ve had those negative comments in my past-did learn from you to say “I’m working on..” Amazing what a difference in MY attitude it makes. We should all be willing to make mistakes and learn and it is so gratifying when we do!

    • Rhan Wilson Says:


      Thank you so much for chiming in on this topic. I catch myself all the time saying and reinforcing things I don’t want reinforced. It’s a bad habit and we must be diligent!


  5. Clyde Ortego Says:

    Hey Rhan;

    Clyde from New Orleans here:

    I want to learn to read tabs and fingerpick.

    That is my goal once I graduate from College in October.



  6. William Kelly Says:

    What a great and positive spin to put on this. I may just be inspired enough to partake on this venture.
    Many thanks!!!

    • Rhan Wilson Says:

      I may have said that I hadn’t gone to many uke festivals, which is true, but I am now teaching and performing at them more and more.

    • Rhan Wilson Says:

      Nice to hear from you.
      The best thing about being aware of this concept, is that it applies to everything we do.
      Personally, I had to stop saying “I am not good at money” because I needed to learn how to better manage my finances, and I couldn’t as long as I was sabotaging myself.

      Take care,

      • William Kelly Says:

        I thought you said last year that you didn’t go to Ukulele Festivals. Anyhow possibly next year we might be able to meet up at one. Food for thought.

  7. Eileen Sundet Says:

    This reminds me of the African saying:

    ” If you can talk – you can sing, if you can walk – you can dance”

    No expectations of perfection just the expectation that everyone has a voice to share (even if not the best) and a dance to express their spirit with the community.
    Then again, if we grew up in a culture without electronic ‘music’ but always created our own music, what a different sense of acceptance we would all have of what we can offer to the group.

    Its so unfortunate that in our culture we only listen to the ‘professionals’ for the most part, convinced if we aren’t really good we should just keep quiet. A legacy of the times when children were to be seen and not heard. How crippling to the soul of a child…. and then we wonder why so many of us grow up and seek relief with drugs instead of music. The soul/spirit wants to be free from all the restrictions we place on ourselves thanks to the kind of negative comments and self criticism you write about so well…

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