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What David Schnaufer Had that Everyone Can Learn

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

Yes, anyone and everyone can learn to play the dulcimer, but this post is on a slightly different topic.

A TED Talk popped into my mailbox this morning that featured a short talk by organizational psychologist Adam Grant entitled How to Stop Languishing and Start Finding Flow. Often funny, Grant's talk has something to say about a struggle that many people experience: how do we find our unique passions? David Schnaufer found the experience of "flow" through music, but, what about other passions for other people? Some people seem to find their passion quickly, while others languish.

Grant explains that "Peak Flow" in life has three conditions: mastery, mindfulness, and mattering, Today, technology lures many of us into binging online for short term Flow. He points out that binging online is "passive engagement in a fake world"; therefore, such behavior only offers short-term, limited satisfaction. Active participation in the real world, however, is what leads to feeling our lives are meaningful and rewarding.

As I learned about David's life journey, it became clear that he found his most satisfactory life via mastering the dulcimer and all the music that it could yield. That mastery resulted from long periods of mindfulness while learning to play. and later by learning about the history, culture and social benefits of music in our lives. By teaching, mentoring, and encouraging others with his saying, "there is an instrument for everyone"*** he firmly planted the notion that music matters thanks to the endless benefits we as individuals and as a society gain from listening to and making music regardless of our skill level. Therefore, his life felt meaningful, and, ultimately, it mattered to a heck of a lot of people.

If you'd like to listen to Adam Grant's talk, click on the video below:

***David's saying that "there is an instrument for everyone" could be taken literally or metaphorically in the sense that everyone can find his or her unique passion.

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