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  • The story first appeared on

    The following happened five years ago, but is still worthy of a pause.
    In a social experiment, Gene Weingarten, a writer for the Washington Post arranged for Joshua Bell, a Grammy-award winning violinist to act as a busker in a Washington metro station. If you haven’t already read the viral story online, you can read it here - Pearls Before Breakfast. This story earned Weingarten a Pullitzer Prize Feature Writing.

    Food for thought.
    How often have you stopped dead in your tracks because you saw something so unnaturally beautiful that it warranted you delaying your journey to wherever you were going?  Probably never.
    If people could just walk by and not bat an eyelid to the elegance and charm of Joshua Bell’s playing, what else are we missing out on?
    Or perhaps the concept of beauty is subjective; subject to what society constructs it to be – continuously evolving as our environments change. The thoughts of most of the people who passed by the violinist? Probably this: ”A man playing a violin in a metro station; nothing new with that. Moving on.”
    Maybe Joshua Bell would have received a million more views if he had anonymously posted a video on YouTube doing the exact same thing. Oh, and the video has to be titled “violin,” just like how an anonymous guitarist (anonymous then, not so anonymous now) managed to earn over 100 million views on YouTube with a video titled “guitar.” And there is a lot of money to be made off of YouTube. Based on calculations from the earnings of “Charlie Bit My Finger,” instead of $32 (the amount that Bell received from passersby), Bell could have pocketed a cool $164,428 at least.
    Today, something is usually only worth our attention if it’s been seen online. Otherwise, it probably isn’t. It’s almost too easy to overlook the things in life that are worth our attention.
    It doesn’t hurt to just stop and smell the roses from a different angle. Why not smell the dandelions as well?  Smell the shrubs. Smell the soil. Smell the worms in the soil.
    It's difficult to go against the crowd, but you know what: Don’t let society’s idea of beauty affect your own ability to perceive your own idea of beauty.
    Featured image taken from
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