Hey what’s up guys? My name is Dan Sugarman – I am a guitarist, teacher, producer, composer, and a performing artist. You may have heard of me as the lead guitarist of As Blood Runs Black or Fallen Figure, but since I don’t like being pegged down and limited to one label, style, or thing, I’ve spent my life developing myself in the areas that have most interested me.

 Within the context of my interests, I have been able to travel the world with my guitar by my side – fueling my every move.

*Here I am ontop of the Andes Mountains overlooking Bogota, Colombia

Life has been incredible so far, and I am so thankful and appreciative of everything that I’ve been able to experience… But as of late, I am starting to see that the performing and touring aspects of my career are just one side of a multi-faceted coin, where belief is my currency. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and will never stop, but without continually looking forward and envisioning a better future – I could absolutely see myself checking out right here and right now. I could cash in my chips, get myself a nice steak and lobster dinner, and reminisce about the good old times… but that’s just not how I roll.

By the time I was in 3rd grade, I knew what I wanted to do in life. In some random ass class project, we were asked to draw a picture of ourselves in 15 years – and at age 9, I drew a crayola version of myself playing a one-stringed guitar on a stage in front of a massive sea of stick figures. At the time, I had no idea how to play guitar, and no idea that some day I would become the inspiration for other kids to pick up the guitar. It blows my mind to be completely honest with you, but then I just have to remind myself that music is simply the language of the universe. Shouldn’t we all be able to speak the words that we can already understand subconsciously?

 It all begins with dedicating yourself to the art, committing yourself to mastery, and being as much about the ride as you are about the destination. My short term goals are always in line with my long term goals, and my long term goals magically take a step away from me every time that I take two steps forward. Sounds a little ass backwards, right? My way of thinking is this – with a moving target, I stay hungry. I still get to feel accomplished while at the same time remaining motivated to keep moving forward. How? My thoughts are in line with my beliefs, and my beliefs are in line with my actions, and my actions bring me closer to the moving target (my goals) every day. Thoughts > Beliefs > Actions > Results. In other words – think you can, know you can, do it, be it. Though my trajectory and route to my goals are anything but scientific, I am getting there in my own way, just as you will.

The endless opportunities for growth and enjoyment while building the life you want to live is a feeling that can’t be described. There are no words that do the feeling justice, and no “one size fits-all” piece of advice that I can give you. You just have to experience that shit for yourself and find your own way to light up your path. As Shia LeBouf once said – “JUST DO IT!”

* As Blood Runs Black Live in Jakarta, Indonesia in front of 10,000+ people

Nobody is saying it will be easy, but there is no reason not to try at this point in time… and if you CAN think of a reason not to give it your all, then that reason will keep holding your head down under the water and plagueing you every time you try to take a step. Or… you can buckle your ass up and get ready for the ride of your life.

 In my experiences and experiments as a musician and a human on this giant space ship we call earth, I’ve discovered that my true passion is helping people like you discover and harness your own passion. My greatest moments of happiness come from working personally with you on turning your vision into reality. Believe me, it isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. Being a guitar teacher for so many years constantly reminds me of my own countless years as a student. It’s weird how that happens… how something once so out of your grasp can become your domain. That roll reversal came to me with a switch in my mentality and a massive shock to my belief system, when I discovered one simple thing – mastery is simply a state of mind. And my stumbling upon that tidbit of information was the catalyst for me being here, now, writing this to you.

 One very important fact that I learned early on was that the people I surrounded myself with had a far greater impact on me then I would have ever imagined.

Once my mind had gotten hold of that piece of information that so many other successful people have utilized before me, I was off like a rabid race horse – dashing towards the great mirage that we call “the finish line”. But don’t get too excited, because that so called “finish line” never actually gets here if you play your cards right. If you do feel yourself getting close to the end of your race, then it may be time to redefine your goals and raise the bar for yourself. Contentment is the death of progression, and complacency is the antithesis to growth and success. Without that light constantly at the end of the tunnel, you have no fuel to run your engine on.

 For me, my engine has been burning red hot for as long as I can remember. By the time I was 17, my high school was forced to create an independent study program for me so that I could complete my high school education outside the prison walls of school campus… Tune in next time for “Keep Dreaming Part II” on Cerebral Upheaval to find out why!

 “…But why are you doing these columns Dan?”: My mission with this series of columns is to challenge your mindset, your approach, and your self-belief system… I am here to inspire you to ask yourself the questions that nobody likes to ask themselves. If you’ve gotten this far in my column, thank you, and take the moment to ask yourself this: Are you living the life that you want to live, or are you simply living the life you were given?

Check back for more from Dan!  Need to get in touch with him directly regarding lessons, Studio work etc?
Check out his website and drop him a line:


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