Perception and Priorities

PerceptionIn Washington, DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold  January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest 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, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

What would you have done?

Lost your MOJO? Check your GPS first!

route_iconIt’s summer and the living is easy.
It’s fall and you are preparing to ramp up.
It’s winter and the days are short and dreary.
It’s spring and you long for sunshine and the lazy days ahead.

Well, that takes care of another year and the accompanying seasonal blocks. Of course your excuses may be more elaborate yet the result is the same; no action plan and an abundance of self-judgment for dessert. A less than nourishing meal for anyone, in fact, it is a recipe for continued inertia topped with a hint of boredom as a chaser.

“Life is a one-way street. No matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back. Once you know and accept that, life becomes much simpler.” – Isabel Moore

Have you been sleepwalking through your life, waiting for the next thing to happen, only to react when “it” inevitably does? You see, there are only two ways to face the future; with apprehension or with anticipation. Add avoidance to the mix and you are looking right into the yawning face of fear, fear that you may lose control, fail and more. We create multiple ways to manage what is yet to happen and spend so much time living in the future that we may miss the present entirely.

Who do you want to be? Who are you choosing to be?

It has been said that there are 3 kinds of people in the world.
1. Those who wait for things to happen
2. Those who make things happen
3. Those who wonder what happened

Who do you want to be? Who are you choosing to be?

Changing your mindset is not like changing your shirt. Preliminary to making a change is choosing a goal, creating a plan and committing to a course of action. Having good intentions does not get the job done and it is far too easy to lapse back into old actions that supported old behaviors. Once you set the intention, you must schedule the actions and honor the intention to incorporate change into your revised routine. Your calendar, like your road map is the tool you will use for incorporating new activities/destinations that resonate for YOU into your master plan.

According to Marshall Goldsmith, author and speaker, “MOJO is that positive spirit that starts inside you and radiates to the outside. You know your MOJO is peaking when you are experiencing happiness and meaning in what you are doing and communicating to the world around you!”

Check-in with yourself. What is the season of your greatest contentment? What if you could expand the feelings associated with that time beyond the traditional calendar months? What do you need right now to make the present your favorite time of year? For example, summer school might be a burden to some, yet to others, it is an opportunity to get a jump start on preparations for the fall. Or you might know that in the past, you have been most inspired when outdoor activities are limited and as a result, there are fewer distractions. Remember, just as some of us thrive on seasonal changes, others may require a tangible connection to what will serve our long term goals and plan accordingly.

Identify what you need right now. Perhaps this is the season for recharging, reshaping and recognizing that it is a “time out” from traditional work and you are best served by the break. On the other hand, if try as you might, you cannot access your MOJO despite your best efforts, consider these techniques as you create your customized low tech roadmap:

Music – listen to old favorites or try listening to tunes from a friend’sdownloads
Movement – get going – even moderate activity can shift your perspective
Memories – bring out the photo albums for a fresh look and addition of new pictures
Mood– can be influenced by these modest behavioral changes

Share your successes with us. What worked for you?

©MWeisner 2014