Do You Know What You're Missing

by Amanda Lanum 

As graduation season is upon us, I celebrated this week being a graduate for the third time in my life; this time from Leadership Greater Topeka. It's an amazing program with amazing groups of people who run the program, and who are chosen to be in the class. One of our great leaders from the Chamber is Marsha Sheahan. You could call her the "momma" of the program for us students. She always had great quotes and stories for us and things to inspire us to think outside the box, to dig deeper, and today she shared another with us. And I'd like to share it with you.

PERCEPTION

...Something to think about...

 

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule. 


4 minutes later: 

  The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. 

6 minutes: 

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

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at 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.

45 minutes:
 
The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

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, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

 This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities

The questions raised: 

      *In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? 

      *Do we stop to appreciate it? 

      *Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
 
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: 
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. 

How many other things are we missing?

How many special persons pass us by and we do not MAKE ANY EFFORT TO get to know them?

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