Take Time to STOP … and Listen!


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You may have read about this. Joshua Bell, the world renowned violinist, played incognito as a “street musician” for an hour in the DC subway as an experiment for the Washington Post.

He played six challenging Bach pieces, as passersby hurried on their way to work. Over a thousand people rushed by. A few people gave him money, and about 6 stopped to listen. Only one person recognized him.

Various people, from time to time, would pause or slow down and admire his talent. One three year old boy didn’t want to rush past. He kept stopping to listen. Finally, his mother pulled him away. He was turning his head the entire time. Bell collected $32.17 for an hour’s performance. There was no applause or recognition of any kind. Just silence. He had played a violin valued at $3.5 million.

This was a performance by one of the world’s best musicians, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. Did anyone notice? Just days before, Joshua Bell had played to a sold-out theater in Boston, where pretty good seats went for $100 each to sit and listen to him play.

Is there beauty all around us if we stop, look and listen? How much are we missing by rushing through life? Are we in too much of a hurry to appreciate beauty and life? Are only innocent children open to this kind of experience?

The Washington Post won a Pulitzer for their feature article about this experiment.

Take a moment today, right now, and appreciate life and sounds around you. You are not here forever. You have an expiration date.

As we have argued in this blog before, are you truly listening to the world around you? Learn how to do that, and you will be successful in business, and in life!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Stiehl
Chris has helped companies save money and sell more by understanding their customers better. He once saved a company $3 million per year for a one-time research expense of $2K. What does your competition know about your customer that you don't know?


  1. There truly is beauty all around us but usually we are conditioned to thinking something is good only when we are told (by PR) that it is so… Sad.
    Here is a musician in the NYC subway spreading some holiday seasonal cheer on a musical saw. If you go to her website you’ll discover she played at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Gardens, etc:


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