Beauty in the everyday – what are we missing?

8 01 2013
“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 1,100 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 till and without stopping, and 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 most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
 
This is a real 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?”




“Often starting…

19 12 2012

“Often starting with the best intentions, or no intentions at all, he turned people’s lives upside down and subjected them to the most vicious force a human being can be subjected to: change. Oddly enough, he was forever claiming that what he really wanted to do was put up his feet and relax. He could not do this for more than one minute. Once he’d put up his feet, his mind would spin and his face would redden and he’d be disturbed all over again. He’d thought of something or someone in the world that needed to be changed.”

– Michael Lewis, “The New New Thing” – biography of American billionaire entrepreneur and Silicon Valley scientist Jim Clark.





26 Good Little Things in 26 days

17 12 2012

This from the creators of the spectacular Facebook page “Amazing Things in the World”:

We tend to forget to do all the good things in our busy lives such that the bad has gotten so much bigger. Here is a small start to remind us all about the responsibility of doing the good and spreading it too.

’26 Good Little Things in 26 days’ – thats the challenge, Brandon Ornoski, one of our fans on the page, has started after the disheartening shooting lately which killed 26 people.

All of us in this community, lets do it and also involve all our friends and see what magic these good “little” things can bring to our character and the society 🙂

Random Acts of Kindness... what will YOU do?

Random Acts of Kindness… what will YOU do?





What are your relationships worth, in dollars?

19 11 2012

Found this fantastic and very interesting article this morning, by Eric Barker, author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Want to improve your happiness and life satisfaction? Then check these stats out…

–          Quinton

Having a better social life can be worth as much as an additional $131,232 a year in terms of life satisfaction:

There is substantial evidence in the psychology and sociology literature that social relationships promote happiness for the individual. This paper explores the use of shadow pricing method to estimate the monetary values of the satisfaction with life gained by an increase in the frequency of interaction with friends, relatives, and neighbours. Using the British Household Panel Survey, an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

A happy marriage is worth $105,000 a year: economists have been able to show using happiness surveys that marriage (compared to being single) is worth around £70,000 (or $105,000) a year for a representative person in Great Britain.

Separation, on the other hand, is equivalent to around minus £170,000 (or $255,000) a year (see Clark and Oswald, 2002).

Seeing friends and family regularly is worth $97,265: So, an individual who only sees his or her friends or relatives less than once a month to never at all would require around an extra £63,000 a year to be just as satisfied with life as an individual who sees his or her friends or relatives on most days.

By comparison, your health is worth $463,170: Improvement in health has one of the largest effects on life satisfaction; a move from having a very poor health to having an excellent health is worth around an extra £300,000 a year.

Unemployment takes a big happiness toll. You’d need as much as an extra $114,248 a year to make up for the life satisfaction you lose: There is a large psychic cost associated with joblessness. The cross-sectional estimates suggest that a pay package around £66,000 to £74,000 a year is required to compensate for being unemployed (compared to being employed full-time).

Divorce seems like a bargain, costing the equivalent of only $34,000 a year. Why so low? By the time people get the divorce they are happy to be moving on with their lives: This finding is consistent with the recent conclusion made by Gardner and Oswald (2006) that divorced couples tend to gain happiness from the dissolution of their marriage.

Death of a spouse, on the other hand, is equivalent to a drop in income of around $308,780 a year.

By comparison, your life is worth about $6 million to $9 million dollars, according to various government agencies:

–          $9.1 million (Environmental Protection Agency)

–          $7.9 million (Food and Drug Administration)

–          $6 million (Transportation Department)

–          $7 million (median value for prime aged workers)

What’s the best bet? Agreeing with Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, more time with friends and family, say the researchers: By allowing unobserved individual fixed effects to be factored out from the life satisfaction equation, an increase in the level of social interaction with friends and relatives is estimated to be worth up to an extra £85,000 a year. In terms of statistical significance, this is strikingly large. The estimated figure is even larger than that of getting married (which is worth approximately £50,000). It can compensate for nearly two-third in the loss of the happiness from going through a separation (minus £139,000) or unemployment (minus £143,000). It is also roughly nine times larger than the average real household income per capita in the dataset, which is around £9,800 a year. So if you want to play real life Monopoly (Life value = $6-9million):

–          Health: +$463,170

–          Better social life: +$131,232

–          Marriage: +$105,000

–          Seeing friends and family regularly: +$97,265

–          Divorce: -$34,000

–          Unemployment: -$114,248

–          Separation: -$255,000

–          Death of a spouse: -$308,780





Stop Waiting to LIVE….

5 07 2012

Here is a fantastic ‘thought piece’ quoted by branding specialist, speaker and author Richard Sauerman. A brief effort at detective work on my part proved fruitless and I was unable to track down the original author, but  elsewhere it’s been titled “Life Lessons From The National Geographic Channel”.

Enjoy. And more importantly, let it challenge you! Life is short.

–  Quinton

 

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When you are born, you will share your birthday with 18 million people.

During your twelve years at school you will have an average of 17 friends.

By the time you’re 40 that number will have dropped down to 2.

You will grow 950km of hair.

You will laugh an average of 15 times a day.

You will walk the equivalent of 3 times the circumference of the Earth.

You will eat 30 tonnes of food.

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You will drink over 9,000 cups of coffee.

You will have one chance in 10 of being electrocuted.

On average, you will spend 10 years of your life at the office.

20 years sleeping.

3 years on the toilet.

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7 months waiting in traffic.

2 months waiting on hold on your iPhone.

6 years texting.

8 years watching TV

and 19 days looking for the remote.

 

This will leave you with less than one fifth of your life to actually live.

 

So WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR…?!

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Don’t let your past define you – or limit your future

19 06 2012

Don't let your past define you - or limit your future

Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) an American essayist, lecturer, and poet.





This is your LIFE!

12 06 2012