The Violinist

Welcome back to Insights from the Hive. I hope you found tons of enjoyment over the festive season.
When I received the following true story, from a friend yesterday, I found it very thought-provoking; a good way to start off this new year. (I have added a little more info that I found on the internet.)
My theme for this year is doing something differently. For all of us, some things worked well for us in 2008 and some didn’t. To move forward in our personal lives as well as our businesses or jobs we need to do at least one thing differently. What are you going to do differently in 2009?

A Violinist in the Metro

It was a cold January morning in 2007. A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and began to play a violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, over a thousand 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 a 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 down and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, a man leaned against the wall to listen but then looked at his watch and started to walk on again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tried to hurry him along but the child 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 7 people stopped to listen to him 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. There was no recognition.
The incognito violinist in the baseball cap was in fact Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played some of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a 300 year old Stradivarius violin.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats averaged $100. During the nearly 45 minutes he played in the subway only one person had recognised him. That person gave a $20 tip.
This was an experiment organized by columnist Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.

The question was: In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
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?
Does the value change if we place a higher price on accessing it? (Business owners think about perceived value of your product or service).
Wishing you all a very special 2009. One in which you make time for self, for special moments with loved ones, for gratitude for living and for the world around you.


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