You’ve Heard the Wisdom. Did You Heed the Advice?

How many times have we heard that bit of wisdom about slowing down to smell the roses? It’s been around a very long time. Many songs and articles have been written on the subject. Books have been based on the fundamental message, and the advice has been passed on from generation to generation.

Most everyone has heard it, but how many have truly heeded the advice to avoid procrastination before it’s too late? How many people, in the last days of their lives, have looked back and said, “I wish I would have spent more time at work and less time involved with my children, parents, loved ones and friends?”

This is another perfect example of the failure to close the knowing-doing gap! We know exactly what we should be doing but actually fail to do it — time and time again.

Some of us don’t learn until very late in our lives and some never learn this valuable lesson at all. Read the following true story and give some serious thought to the moral of the story. Hopefully it will cause you to re-evaluate your philosophy of what’s really important in your life.

Discuss the story with a friend and/or family member and then pass it on to others. It’s certainly a message worth sharing.

What are YOU Missing?

A man sat at a metro station … in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

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.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real 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 priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

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?

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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