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Saturday 20 December 2008

A Violinist in the Metro

A Violinist in the Metro

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 a few thousand 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 tin and without stopping 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 best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell's performance sold out "House-full" at a theater in Boston and the ticket prices averaged $100.

This is a real life 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?

Regards,

N


Thursday 11 December 2008

Deceptive Looks!

Deceptive Looks!

Dear Friends,

A lady in a faded grey dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun suit walked in timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Harvard.

"We want to see the President," the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.

They didn't and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president." Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him.

The President, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed.

My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere incampus." The president wasn't touched....

He was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.

 "Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."
The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, and then exclaimed, "A building!"

Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.

"For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he! could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly,  "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?"


Her husband nodded.

The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto,
California where they established the University that bears their name.
Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

Most of the time we judge people by their outer appearance, which can be misleading. And in this impression we only tend to treat people badly .By thinking they can do nothing for us thus we tend to loose our potential good friends, employees or customers.

Regards,

N


Wednesday 3 December 2008

Office inspiration

Office inspiration

Top 10 sayings we'd like to see on those office inspirational posters:

  1. Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings, they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
  2. If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos...then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.
  3. Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.
  4. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
  5. Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity
  6. A person who smiles in the face of adversity...probably has a scapegoat.
  7. Plagiarism saves time.
  8. If at first you don't succeed, try management.
  9. Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
  10. TEAMWORK...means never having to take all the blame yourself.

Regards,

N