1. Great story I heard this week…
I received a text from a friend (thanks, Al B.!) with a picture of the following story. I believe I would have had to sit down for a moment after reading it had I been standing up. I love stories, especially true stories, that move me. This one did just that. It shifted my thinking in a moment, and I have thought about it a lot since. You can ponder on the meaning and significance it has for you once you read it. It turns out that a few of the details are not 100% accurate, with a few minor details having been corrected by the original author, but the event DID take place. I hope it rocks you the way it rocked me.
The Story, A Violinist in the Metro
A man sat at a metro station in Washington D.C. 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 thousands of 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 a 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, 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 three-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 six people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk at 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 best 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 his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston, and the seats averaged $100 each.
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 the 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 that 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?
2. Surprising stats I saw this week…
With all the hype, fear, and concern surrounding the large number of COVID-19 cases on college campuses, I decided to take a deeper dive into the numbers. Here is the simplest rundown I could find. I could not find the original source, but checking it against other sources, these numbers look legit. These are from last Monday. Note the large number of cases confirmed on these 50 campuses… gasp… then, look at the number of hospitalizations… 3! Then… look at the number of deaths… ZERO! This is not to imply that COVID-19 is not real, or that people have not died as a result of the virus, but that we have to look at how the virus is affecting individuals in certain demographics and adjust our thinking and actions accordingly. Here is that list and the numbers (note the totals at the bottom)…
3. Quote I love…
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is the pain of discipline weighs ounces, while regret weighs tons.”
Think about this quote for a moment. Think of all the times you had regret and realized how much better off you would have been had you just done whatever it was you needed to do to avoid that regret, but didn’t do it because it SEEMED too difficult at the time. I personally think of this quote often to help get me to do those things I want to avoid doing.
Oh… and THANK YOU!
The results of Cleveland Magazine’s Best of the East contest came in and… drumroll please… I WON! So… thank you to all that took the time to vote. I really, really appreciate it!