How often are you racing through your life so busy to get somewhere that you miss the beauty right in front of you, all around you?
If you were going through a mall or subway and the best violinist in the U.S. was playing the most complex concerto on a rare $3.5 million violin, would you notice? You might think so, but what would really happen? Well the Washington Post wanted to find out and did just that in 2007. Here’s the video:
Joshua Bell made $32 that day in Washington D.C.’s busy Metro. The day before, he sold out a concert in Boston for $100 per ticket. Seems we need to be told what to like, what is beautiful, and to stop to notice.
What’s interesting to me is Joshua’s experience of watching the video later that day:
"The awkward times," he calls them. It’s what happens right after each piece ends: nothing. The music stops. The same people who hadn’t noticed him playing don’t notice that he has finished. No applause, no acknowledgment. So Bell just saws out a small, nervous chord — the embarrassed musician’s equivalent of, "Er, okay, moving right along . . ." — and begins the next piece.
Joshua has an amazing gift to give the world but could have been crushed by this experience. Are you giving YOUR deepest gift to the world? Have you ever given up giving your gift because you were just in the wrong venue for you gift? Or because you picked a time when people were just in the wrong space to receive?
Don’t give up just because you’ve been playing in busy subways! Don’t give up on the people around you. Maybe they are just caught up in their own subway of life.