What Are You Missing Out On?

Joshua BellAt the beginning of this month I gave a speech on finding balance in your life and the importance of living in the moment. Later I received the following forward and I thought it was such an important reminder to live in the moment.

Although the forward was about a story from 2007 it is still relevant today. You can read the full story here but in summary, The Washington Post asked one of the greatest musicians in the world to play at a subway station one morning. The violinist, Joshua Bell, played a 3.5 million violin while commuters rushed past to get to work on time.

A music expert predicted that approximately 100 people would stop and listen to an extraordinary performer and maybe 40 people would recognize the exceptional quality of the music.

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Where the experiment was performed, only 7 people actually stopped to listen out of the almost 1,100 people who rushed by. A few more threw some change while they walked by. When interviewed later many of the commuters did not even recall there was someone playing music. After an hour, Joshua Bell collected a mere $32 while tickets to his shows go for more than $100.

It was particularly interesting that every single child who walked by wanted to stop and experience the music but were rushed along by their parents. I think children are much better about appreciating the beauty surrounding them sometimes to their parent’s frustration and impatience.

The forward I received asked the following thought-provoking questions about this social experiment on perception, taste and people’s priorities.

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion the article reached from this experiment

“If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that — then what else are we missing?”

*Photo from JoshuaBell.com

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