A prank we can all learn from

The curious experiment began in a Washington subway station.

He’s world-famous, with sold-out crowds paying hundreds of dollars to hear him play. One morning he lugged his violin down, opened the case and prepared to put on a show.

Joshua Bell began.

Joshua Bell: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment


Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chaconne is one of the hardest violin pieces to master.

“On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”

Johannes Brahms, a prominent 19th-century composer’s description of Chaconne.

Fourteen minutes passed as Bell delivered Chaconne to perfection. He continued strumming away for an hour. Here’s how it went.

Roaring applause? No.

A sizeable crowd? Hardly.

A decent earning? Maybe $100? A few measly dollars.

Nearly everyone walked by.

Heads fixed, gaze firm, hustling and bustling to wherever they must be. People comfortably walked past a rendition of one of the greatest pieces by a world-class violinist and were none the wiser.

Only, it wasn’t everyone. Someone took in the beauty. Someone smiled in delight as the strings excited their ears. Someone made time to appreciate the small joys of life.

Children. It was children who stopped and tugged at their parents to listen. It is also our children who are also the happiest among us.

We spend much of our lives teaching our children, but maybe it’s time we take a lesson from them on appreciating the small things in life. To see all that we have. To be grateful. Because life isn’t the big events, it’s all the small moments in between

Happiness is not a goal – it is a choice. It begins by choosing to see what we have. 

Published in Self Improvement, Learning, Philosophy, Psychology
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