The other day, I was digging through the archives and came across this great story, about raising awareness: what we take notice of and what we may be missing.
On a cold January morning in 2007, world famous violinist Joshua Bell took part in a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people, initiated by The Washington Post columnist, Gene Weingarten.
Just two days after he played to a sold out theatre in Boston, Bell pulled on a pair of old jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a baseball cap, then stood in a Washington DC subway station plaza. He placed his violin case on the ground, threw a few dollars of change in and played anonymously for around 45 minutes, one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth around 3.5 million dollars.
Over a thousand people passed by, yet only seven stopped to listen. During his performance, videotaped by a hidden camera and since shared with over five million people worldwide, Bell collected around fifty dollars from 27 passersby – twenty of which was given by the one and only person who recognised him!
Who paid the most attention? A 3 year old boy.
The mother was rushing him along, but the child simply stopped to look and listen for a while. Finally his mother pulled him away and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time.
No one even noticed when Bell finished playing. The only sounds were the from the people rushing here and there. No one applauded.
This is a real story.
If we don’t have time to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing the best music ever written, what else are we missing out on?
Raising awareness, our own and other people’s, is a start to revealing untold richness in our lives.