As life gets busier and deadlines tighter, do you slow down to hear the music?
I recently read this story on Facebook. It made me stop in my tracks and wonder – when is the last time I stopped to smell the roses or hear the music of a street performer during the hustle and bustle of my busy day? When I am in work mode, I am no different than all those people who rush by, not even blinking as they hear the music wafting through the air. Places to go, people to see…..you know the drill.
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
By: Josh Nonnenmocher, Washington Posthttp://youtu.be/hnOPu0_YWhw
As I read more accounts of peoples live’s in the blogosphere, I read more and more of people who make life altering changes – quit their careers in the rat race to travel, to experience life and to live in the moment. We are talking senior executives and established careers here! What an amazing feat – to shed what took a lifetime to build to get out there and really live life!
At what time do we need to slow down? What are we missing when our tunnel vision takes over?
I was fortunate enough to take an early career break to travel the world, see and experience different cultures, pedal across Canada and hike in the Andes. With a friend for part of the trip, solo for the rest, I lived in the moment, explored to my hearts content and grew considerably as a person. The opportunity to experience the world helped me to grow, and make me the person who I have become. While I am back in my career now, I look forward to many years of experiencing more of the world, continuing to grow, and perhaps give back through volunteering. (Friends without borders/Angkor hospital – this post really inspired me!)
As for stopping to hear the music – I know I don’t do enough of that as I run from client to client. Have I missed the opportunity to hear a world class musician – unlikely, but perhaps I have missed the opportunity to take a moment to live in the moment. I started my round the world tour in Chile. While passing through the busy square in Santiago, I was amazed at the buskers in the street – literally stopping traffic with their performance. How great it was to be in the midst of all the excitement as a mime cajoled the crowds into laughter, then jumped into a car as if it were a taxi, stunning the driver. All in good fun. Some drivers sat there in silence, others drove up the street and let the mime out. After a few minutes, it was all over, the crowds dispersed and people were on their way!
What are we missing when we are so busy doing our thing? I thought the article was interesting food for thought and wanted to share. The the question remains – do you stop to hear the music?