January 12, 2009

What are you missing?

I would like to share with all the below article which was taken from The Star, Sunday January 11, 2009. It was contributed by Mr Benedict Lee. This is a great article and I am sure we will all benefit from the wisdom of this article.

What are you missing?

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 thousands of 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 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 three-year-old boy. His mother tagged him along, 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 six people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected US$32 (RM112). 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 best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth US$3.5mil (RM12.25mil).

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats average US$100 (RM350).

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organised by the Washington Post as part of an 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 recognise 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?

This article reminds me of what I always say : “Live a live rather than just stay alive”. We are so engrossed with the ever increasing challenge of staying on top of the materialistic world that many of us forgot to take a moment to appreciate all the things around us. In the madness of the rat race, we never know how much we missed.

I would like to thank Mr Benedict Lee for this valuable contribution.
Link to the article in The Star :


samo said...

wah.. inspiring lah.. but here, if you play guitar at Central Market incognito, sure kena pau lah!


Jim said...

Good piece to share.... tks.... in my opnion, each time we do something, always remember to appreciates the process. That way, we can smell the roses as we pass by at the same time... Cheers..