No. 993



You probably have heard the saying, “What is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Boy, have I got a story to tell you today that points up just how true this is. And I might add, there is an important principle here we can also learn along the way.
The bottom line of what I am saying is that “PERCEPTION” is very important. It is often how we perceive a person, a performance or an event that determines the value we place on them. If our minds are preconditioned to make a judgment based on something less than the revealed truth, we will often make mistakes and miss out on a great many things that have real value, even some things that could possibly change our lives for the better.
Here is an example that illustrates what I am saying: “In Washington, D.C., at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During this time, about 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about three minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried on to meet his schedule. About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
“At six minutes: A man leaned against the wall to listen to him, and then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At 10 minutes, a 3-year-old boy stopped, his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
“At 45 minutes, the musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. After one hour, he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
“Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, ‘Here is the rest of the story’. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.
“This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions: In a commonplace environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
“One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?” That concludes the article.
Personally, here is what I took away from it. The Washington Post could have saved their money. What is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The people in Boston who paid $100 knew what they were getting, and wanted, ahead of time. Don’t miss out on a treasure. Start your day with a positive perspective.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)