“At a Metro station in Washington D.C. on a cold January morning, a young violinist played several classical compositions as people rushed by.
After three minutes, a middle-aged man slowed briefly, then hurried away. Thirty seconds later the young man received his first dollar; a woman threw it in his case without stopping.
Six minutes later a man leaned against a wall to listen for a few minutes, then looked at his watch, and walked on. After ten minutes a little boy stopped, but his mum hurried him along.
Other kids did the same, but every parent, without exception, rushed them on. The young musician played for forty-five minutes. During that time seven people stopped and listened for a while, and twenty gave money as they walked past.
He collected a total of $32 (about £25), and when he stopped playing nobody noticed or applauded.
What’s remarkable is this: the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest musicians, and he played some of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million (about £2.8 million).
Two days before, he’d sold out a Boston theatre where seats averaged $100 (about £80) to listen to him play the same music he played at the Metro station that morning, where only one person recognised him.
So here’s the question: if you’ve no time to stop and listen to one of the world’s best musicians playing the finest music ever written, on one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, what else are you missing as you barrel through life?
It’s worth thinking about, isn’t it? (Note: Joshua Bell played incognito as part of a social experiment conducted by The Washington Post.)”
(This article appeared on the 30th November in the UCB Word for Today)
In my New Online ‘Coping with Covid’ 1-hour Masterclass I deliver two practical exercises on Mindfulness to the participants. They experience a sense of awareness and peace during these exercises. In effect time stops still while they experience a sense of ‘being in the moment’ where there is no stress.
The definition of Mindfulness is:
“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
This is a key part of this online Masterclass and I cover this wonderful technique in Chapter 16 of my book ‘Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience’.
This is an excerpt from that chapter
Have you ever been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination, only to realise you remember nothing about your journey? Or started eating a chocolate bar, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty wrapper in your hand? Or maybe it is a gorgeous day, but you don’t even see what is right in front of you.
These are common examples of ‘mindlessness’, or ‘going on autopilot’, when we go through our days without really paying attention to much of anything. Nobody else would suspect that we are hardly there; almost nobody notices, probably because they’re on autopilot, too.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter much. At other times it really does matter, because life begins to feel shallower if you spend too much time being unaware. As humans, we are often ‘not present’ in our own lives.
Human minds are easily distracted, habitually examining past events and trying to anticipate the future, and constantly multi-tasking. It is easy to lose awareness of the present moment as we become lost in our efforts to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands.
Becoming more aware of our thoughts, emotions and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do. However, learning to do this in a way that suspends judgement and self-criticism can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to whatever is happening in our lives by being ‘fully in the moment’. It will not eliminate life’s pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner that benefits our heart, head and body.
It helps us recognise and change habitual emotional and physiological reactions to everyday events. It provides us with a scientifically researched approach to cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding.
I will share more from this chapter on Mindfulness next week.
A powerful ‘Coping with Covid’ Masterclass
Last week I delivered this new online Masterclass to Undergraduate Students from Nottingham Trent University Business School and to the Association of Women Solicitors in Manchester. Feedback from both sessions was amazing.
This week I am delivering 3 of these to a charitable organisation in Scotland. They have already experienced one of these and have booked these extra 3 based on the feedback from the first one.
Next week I am delivering this to a company in Germany as a pre-Christmas inspirational session.
The great thing about online delivery is I can deliver anywhere across the world from the comfort of my home office. The feedback I am receiving tells me that this session is very inspirational and helpful, and the videos are relevant and immensely powerful.
It’s not what happens it’s how you respond
When I lost all my face to face business it was a shock but as you know my favourite saying is ‘it’s not what happens to you in life which counts, but it’s how you respond which makes all the difference.’
Thoughts for the week.
- Do you rush around all day long missing the golden moments?
- Are your thoughts constantly on the future or the past?
- Are you constantly focused on the list of things you need to get done?
- This week try to capture moments several times a day when you can just stop and focus on something lovely.
- During these ‘mindful’ moments there is no stress, stress exists in past thoughts or future thoughts.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and slow down.