How many things are you missing?


It’s a crazy day. You’re running late and you have a ton of things that you need to get done. Your “TO DO” list reads like a short story. You feel the stress running through your body and you’re on the edge. Sound familiar?

For me, this pretty much describes my week and I knew I had to do something about it. I decided I had to decompress; it was time for a really long run. As I was running, for some strange reason, I started thinking about an article that I had read a few years back in the Washington post titled “Pearls Before Breakfast”.

It’s a scene that most of us have come across but we never really took the time to appreciate. The street musician calmly playing away while everyone is rushing by. For some, it’s another person looking for a hand out. For most it’s just another distraction, background noise that blends into hustle and tussle of our busy lives.

It starts with a man playing a violin at a metro station in Washington DC. At his feet is an open case sprinkled with a few dollars and some change. He plays Bach for about 45 minutes as a thousand or so people rush past. Most were on their way to work and they paid little attention to the man. Several hurry past begrudgingly throwing money in the case, while a few slowed to notice the music but quickly moved on.

When he finished playing no one applauded. There was no recognition, only the awkward sounds of a quieting station after the morning rush. In the 45 minutes he played only six people stopped to listen and his take was mere $32.

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.

This is a true story and part of a social experiment organized by the Washington Post. The experiment provided some interesting conclusions but the one that stood out was; 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?

Sometimes we all get caught up in the chaos in our busy lives and forget to appreciate the simple things around us. Take a “time out”, look around, and appreciate the beauty that life has to offer. You might be surprised what you will find.



Categories: Motivation

1 reply

  1. Bruce,

    This is the tragic truth for many of us I’m afraid – that we are busily traveling in the deep grooves of our familiar daily experience, missing out on the extraordinary. I had a great chat with Chris Brogan about this; what he called “Cog Behavior”

    Any behavioral change is difficult, but here’s one that’s definitely worth the trouble. Anything we can do to see things with new eyes is bound to return a bounty of some kind. It could even mean the difference between really living and merely existing.

    Good form,

    Don F Perkins

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