In Faculty and Staff, Lectures

Professor David Habben shared how a 100-year-old guitar helped inspire him to make intentional changes that impacted his professional design work 

Design professor David Habben used a 100-year-old guitar to demonstrate the meaning of intentional change during his presentation at the Faith + Works lecture in November. For Habben, the guitar is part of what influenced him to seek intentional change in his own life.

“This guitar was passed down to my father and was sitting in the corner of my parents’ closet for a long time. I often bugged my dad about being able to see and play it,” said Habben while showing the guitar to the audience. “One day my grandmother saw me complaining and said, ‘Don’t put it in the closet. It was meant to be played.’”

Habben used the guitar sitting in his family’s closet as a metaphor of how life can go unintentionally out of tune. His solution is intentional change through purposeful actions, much like tuning a guitar. He explained that we can tune aspects of our own lives. Habben laid out his philosophy of eternal intentional change in three main points: people can change, people do change and change is a choice.

Habben used his artistic career and his passion for growth and education. He attended Boise State University before transferring to BYU. Nine years after earning his Bachelor of Arts at BYU, he decided to continue his education at the University of Utah.

“During that time before I attended grad school, I was changing constantly. I was changing to a point that I knew there was something more I needed to be doing,” said Habben. 

“Asking ourselves the question, ‘What am I meant to be doing?’ is dangerous, because it pushes us to change.”

During his time studying at the University of Utah, Habben discovered new ways to interact with his art. He crossed paths with a dance professor and eventually started experimenting with painting dance movements; he often sat in dance studios while dancers practiced. This exploration led to progress and collaboration opportunities with dancers.

“I was learning and growing in a more direct way. I was changing with intention and purpose,” Habben said. “If we let the Holy Ghost take part in determining the song we’re going to sing or the art we’re going to draw, we are able to be instruments in the Lord’s hands to change our own lives and the lives of others.”

At the end of his presentation, the lecture transitioned to a question and answer session. One student asked Habben what the biggest block is to curiosity and change.

“The biggest block is fear. Letting go is the first step,” said Habben. “You can choose to give into fear or choose to give into faith.”

 

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