Thursday, January 31, 2013

Too busy! Too Wrong!

I had a gist over the weekend with a friend on the unhealthy drama of Office politics and I felt I should share someone’s thoughts on the matter.

In Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. 

During that time, approximately two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After three minutes, a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on to meet his schedule.

Four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar; a woman threw the money in the hat and without stopping, continued to work.

Six minutes after, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

Ten minutes after, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look the violinist again but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. 

This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

Forty five minutes after, the musician played continuously. 

Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. 

About twenty others gave money but continued to walk on at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

One hour later, he finished playing and silence took over. 

No one noticed. 

No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. 

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell in disguise, one of the greatest musicians in the world. 

He had played one of the most intricate pieces ever written on a violin worth $3.5 Million dollars. 

Two days earlier, Joshua Bell had sold out all tickets at a theatre in Boston where the average seat cost $100.

This is a true story.

Joshua playing incognito in the metro station: this was organized by the Washington post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. 

The question raised is this; that in a common place and at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected circumstance? 

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment is this- if we are so busy and do not have a moment to listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written with one of the most beautiful instrument ever made, how many times are we missing out in the journey of life?

Let us put another twist to this story. 

Do you realize in your place of work, business or school you can be too busy complaining about a situation, a student, a customer or colleague that you lose the opportunity to connect with someone of great worth. 

You can be too busy ‘beefing’ a friend, neighbor or even passers-by that you missed the opportunity to connect with the next governor.

If you knew the destiny of the person sitting next to you in the bus, place of worship, office, market, cinema, stadium, restaurant, or just anywhere, would you treat them differently?
Written by Simon Onah


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