Life

Going too fast to listen?


better listening

I love the idea of creating at the speed of space, but what happens when you are so focused you miss out on the beauty in the world.

I recently heard this story. A timeless one that brought me to tears. Enjoy.


In the middle of the morning rush hour, a violinist in a baseball cap played next to the trash bins at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington D.C. 1,097 people passed by on their way to work.

What do you think happened? Yup. They hurried by without acknowledging his art.

Do you listen?

Do you hurry past? Maybe stuck in your head with all the noise?

Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite and assuming he must need it?

What if the song is really good? Does that change your mind?

Do you still marvel at art and beauty?

joshua bell metro

Here’s the Real Story

On that Friday, no one knew it, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the finest musicians in the world. In 45 minutes, he played 6 classical pieces (one being the most intricate piece ever written) on a 3.5 million dollar violin hand-crafted in the 18th century.

Reporter Gene Weingarten for The Washington Post arranged this performance as a social study in context, perception and priorities.

As in turns out, pretty much no one stopped to listen. A total of 6 people stopped and listened to the music. Bell made a grand total of $32 in an hour of performing.

Interestingly, there were several children who stopped and watched, wide-eyed for a moment before being rushed along by their parents. In fact, every single parent hurried their children along rather than joining them in enjoying the music.

A children’s book was written about the case study, entitled The Man with the Violin. It’s a beautiful work filled with illustrations of children being dragged away from the violinist. You can pick up a copy here.

My Question to You?

Would you marvel in the art? Loving the beauty.

Would you acknowledge the art?

Would you ignore the art?

And here’s the kicker!

What would you have done when you were five years old?

When did your sense of wonderment, curiosity, appreciation stop?

What else might you be missing out on?

If our inherent nature is to marvel in beauty, why are we shutting it out?

* Other artists have been inspired by this case study. A children’s book was written about the case study, entitled The Man with the Violin – it’s $9.95 on Amazon.

* Headphones features in module image.

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