July 1st, 2009 - by Golgotha

“He emerged from the metro at the L’Enfant plaza station and positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.”

This scene is all too familiar for those of us that work in an urban downtown area. Do we stop and listen or just hurry on about our business?

But wait, this was not your typical panhandler. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall was one of the finest classical musicians in the world. In fact, the musician was Joshua Bell. Whom just three days before he appeared at the Metro station, had filled the house at Boston’s stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. The very violin that he played was worth more than most of the passer byes would make in their lifetime. The violin was handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari and the price tag was reported to be about $3.5 million.

Joshua Bell, one of the worlds top classical musicians, equipped with his million dollar Stradivari violin played one of the most difficult violin pieces ever. AND THE WORLD WAS TOO BUSY TO NOTICE…

This experiment arranged by The Washington Post struck a cord in me. Probably because I fear that I would be one of the many that was too busy with life to see or hear the beauty that was right there in front of me.

This is one of the reasons for the less frequency of blog post these days. The other reason is the birth of my second child. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The life of a software developer is fast paced for sure, maybe that’s why they call them sprints in the Agile dev methodology. Make sure you are stopping from time to time to smell the roses or hear the music. Work to live. Don’t live to work…

Be sure to read the entire Washington Post experiment here. It’s well worth your time.

6 Responses to “Stop And Smell The Roses”

1 Chloe McLesky

This was well worth the wait. Thanks for posting. And congratulations on the birth of your child, and the realization that that’s what matters in life 🙂

2 Jack Hughes

I find visualisation to be a good idea when you’re stuck on something like a tricky bug. Imagine how your going to feel when you’ve fixed the bug or implemented the feature. I was skeptical myself but it works…

3 Benjamin Rossen

Context is important.

The corollary to this is the placement of rubbish in an art-gallery after, which we observe the critics pour forth adulation in indescribable postmodern terms. The placement of rubbish in art-galleries seems to happen a lot these days.

4 Home Decoration Design

sitting in your garden with the smell of freshly cut grass while the aroma of freshly made bread waffs out the kitchen window with a taste of Coffee beans in the air from the local Chocolate factory….

5 Jeremy

“Context is important.”
Very well said Mr. Benjamin Rossen!
In fact I dare say “context” is just about everything.

I sip Napoleon brandy out of a crystal snifter in a suitably decorated room with ambiance and background music to match, and I drink canned beer on a fishing trip.

Contrary to what Golgotha claims, this experiment did not strike anything with me, and not because I’m too busy with life or any such other silly cliche expressions.

I have RESPONSIBILITIES. Clients RELY on me.
I ‘live’ when I ‘live’, and I work when I work. All in the proper context.

Joshua Bell could be standing there in his best tuxedo with half of the orchestra around him and a sign saying: “Hi, I’m Joshua Bell and I’m playing …”
What good would that and his $3.5 million fiddle do me if I missed my deadlines?

When I want to hear Mr. Bell playing his most difficult violin piece ever, I’ll buy a ticket and attend the concert.

(On the other hand, I think Nigel Kennedy is better, much better.)

This experiment is supposed to prove what? The silliness of it?
It did! 10 out of 10! Congratulations!

6 Technology Blogged

Late to this post I know, but I found it funny and agree on the visualisation points mentioned in both comments and content.

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