The Washington Post conducted an experiment a while ago. They asked a man to play six pieces by JS Bach on the violin for 45 minutes in a Washington DC metro station foyer. In that time over a thousand people walked past, only six stopped for any time to listen and they were mainly children. When he stopped playing there was no pause, no clapping, no recognition. 20 people put some money in his violin case totalling $32.17.

The crowd that hurried by, heard the man play on a violin worth $3,500,000 (yes $3.5 million).

A couple of days earlier the same man had played to a sold-out concert hall in Boston where the average ticket price was $100. The man was Joshua Bell, the world famous violinist.

This is the video from the CCTV at the metro station foyer in Washington DC.


As a global community, as sovereign nations, as businesses large and small, as individual households we are making our way along our difficult coronavirus journey – a journey that is marked by heroism as well as tragedy, by brilliance as well as farce.

As we look around trying to make the best decisions for ourselves and those for whom we care and have responsibility where do we find the answers for which we seek? Where is quality? Where is the wisdom, the ability and the compassion? Where is the common good? Whom do we trust to guide us?

The human eye projects images onto the retina (at the back of our eye) upside down. Our clever brain then inverts the image. Coronavirus is turning so many things upside down. Our hitherto values are being challenged and that which we took for granted we are now appreciating so much more.

Do you have the vision to see things in a new way? Do you have eyes that can see the things in front of you? It was noteworthy that the few people who stopped for Joshua Bell in the metro foyer were mostly children. Big names, gurus, branding, reputation, packaging and tinsel all matter but sometimes the answer to your question or problem is not far away at all. It is much closer than you would ever have imagined just as Joshua Bell was to his audience in the metro station. If only we had the eyes to see it.

Having a third party to talk to can make a big difference to the way in which you think about your enterprise. They can help you to see opportunities that you may otherwise miss during your busy working life.

Where and who is the ‘Joshua Bell’ in your midst today?

David Eaton

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