In 2007 the Washington Post tried an experiment, they had world famous violinist Joshua Bell, posing as a street musician and give an incognito performance to morning commuters at a busy metro train station in Washington DC.

 

Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist, performed beautiful and complex music on an instrument worth $3.5 million, but nevertheless received little or no attention from passers by.  Although, only days earlier, Bell had played at a Boston theater where ticket prices averaged more than $100 each, but after nearly two hours at a subway station he managed to make only a paltry $32 from his performance.

 

While adults didn’t pay much attention to Joshua Bell, children did.  Several youngsters can be seen trying to listen and stand around longer, while their parents dragged them away.  Which brings to mind the famous saying, “we are all born artist, the challenge is to stay that way as we grow up.” 

 

As I read about this experiment, (it won the Washington Post a Pulitzer for feature writing) I was stuck with the same nagging question that the author of the piece was bothered by: “What else is passing us by?”

 

A world-renowned artist – a master at his craft – is performing and we are concerned about our meeting with the boss at 9am.   A beautiful sunset on a Wednesday afternoon and we are focused on catching the next train? The potential love of your life is sitting across from you and looking directly at you on the subway, and you only notice the text message you got from your ex?  What else are you missing?

 

“Life is what happens while you are busy making plans,” is perhaps my favorite quote.  We spend so much time waiting for something to happen.  Waiting for that amazing person to enter our lives. Getting to work on time and shuffling the meaningless papers on your desk, but it’s our ability to soak up AMAZING moments, that really matter.

 

When the music is playing in your life are you able to hear it? And do you appreciate what you are hearing?  Or are the daily challenges, of work, school, love, family, dealing with frustration and simply survival not allowing you to see and hear the beauty around you.  Is something amazing passing you by?

 

 Shom is a writer who grew up in NYC and now lives in Washington DC, he dabbles writing TV programs and feature length movies.  He has a background working in domestic politics and international affairs.  Shom’s vices include being a Mets fan, playing golf, traveling over seas, chasing his dreams and meeting amazing women. But above all, yell, cry, scream, laugh, jump or run — I don’t care what you do, but don’t live life lukewarmly.

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