Life is pretty busy these days, and I am as guilty as anyone at rushing through every day trying to accomplish as much as I can. Whether it be the work I do during the day, the projects I take on into the night, or the many activities and try to accomplish with my family, it seems I measure every day by how much have been able to get done during my waking hours. What has caused us to be in such a hurry? I do think computers have a lot to do with it, and the Internet has compounded it even more, begging us to multitask every minute of the day. Jobs expect more to get accomplished, and we try to manage conversations on the phone, instant messages being written, and reports being produced all at once. The fact that some of those chats are for fun, and that YouTube video in the background is not associated with work is beside the point. We try to consume as much information as possible, and more and more we stare at a screen for much of our day.
Now I know this is not the case for everyone, and I realize that I am on the computer far more every day than many people, but they are becoming more and more in the workforce like me. Whatever job you may do, we are seemingly always pressed for time or late for an appointment. As we rush through our day, are we simply and too much of a hurry to enjoy the journey?
This morning I found a link to a Washington Post article that discussed an experiment they made it speaks to this very fact. The Post engaged in a world-renowned violinist to play in the halls of a busy subway terminal in downtown Washington, DC. They speculated and asked others to speculate on what the results would be, whether people would stop and listen or hurry on their way. They went so far as to install a hidden camera to record the results as complex, beautiful music was played on a $3.5 million violin. Would the busybodies of that morning have their minds and souls pricked to the point that they would take a moment out of their busy day and rush to get to work to listen and appreciate this rare moment they were being presented with?
Now keep in mind the location they chose for their experiment was one that feeds into our nation’s capital, so likely the majority of the travelers that morning represent government workers; integral minds playing a role in running the systems that control our nation. These are people we would hope are better than the average at intellectual capacity, and therefore have a sense of life’s finer things and beauty. At least that is what I think.
Now of course I predisposed you to the outcome of this situation with my title to this article. With over a thousand people passing by during the 45-minute experiment, only a small handful chose to stop and listen even for a few minutes, and even fewer through a dollar or two into his open case which was presented for donations part of the experiment.
So I ask you, and myself, is this a sad commentary on the way we are treating our typical day in much of our lives? Are we in such a rush to accomplish things and is our need to be to her destination on time so important that we missed the small opportunities to appreciate the beauty around us? Do we let the drudgery of a daily routine turn us into robots such that we are unable to let the right side of our brain remain open and available? It is not every day that we have a virtuoso on the corner playing a complex musical solo, but there are many things that happen all around us that if it would stop and take a moment to enjoy them our lives would be enriched by that small break in our day.
Perhaps I’m waxing too philosophical at the point being made by this experiment provided by the Post, but I feel in reading this article I have had a small light bulb turn on my mind. Though it is difficult to measure these little things and enrich our lives, is what makes us who we are. That is hard to understand when getting the next project on or earning that extra dollar is much easier for us to measure and it affects us in a more outward way. But why is it that we work so hard? Is it not to provide the time and means to enjoy ourselves? We work so hard to accrue vacation days and the money to go on vacation and to splurge on those trips were gadgets or other things that bring us enjoyment.
Give the article a read, and one of the videos at least and see if it makes you stop and think as it did for me. If perhaps we were to focus just a little more on those little enjoyments we can get each and every day, perhaps we would be better, happier people for it. At least that’s my thought for the day, and that might to try and make that thought stick from this point forward.