Searching for Wonderment and Awe

Pic 1Responding with Wonderment and Awe is a reaction. The disposition successful people have developed is not the response of wonderment and awe, which everyone is capable of,  it is the action of Searching for Wonderment and awe.

The story below powerfully illustrates this point. While we might be exposed to the amazing and wonderous, the skill is in searching for and recognsing it. That search has two key components. The first is related to Gathering Data through All Senses – you have to pay attention in the first place!

Once you notice the world around you the second skill of Searching for Wonderment and Awe is to filter your experiences and compare them against your previous experiences, searching for the qualities that might make that moment exceptional.

I write more about this in another blog entry here. As you read the story below, reflect on how many wonderous things we each may have missed over just the last week, for the lack of paying attention and bothering to search for the exceptional qualites in our day to day lives.

“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?”

The full story from the washington Post can be read here

The body of this article is reposted from “Anyone can be cool, but Awsome Takes Practice” Facebook page.