Talent isn’t always recognised

Talent isn’t always recognised.

It doesn’t matter how good you are, you can still be overlooked.

We’d all like to believe that our product, service, skills, talent, or creativity, will stand out and get noticed.

We all tend to assume that those with the biggest audiences, on and offline, and the most media attention, got there by the sheer force of their own brilliance.

That isn’t always the case.

Here’s a story to prove the point.

In 2007 the Washington Post carried out an experiment with concert violinist Joshua Bell.

Bell, dressed in jeans, a long sleeve tee shirt, and baseball cap, played for about 45 minutes during the morning rush hour at L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.

During that time 1097 people walked passed as Bell played six classical pieces.

Two days before this experiment Joshua Bell had played to a packed house in Boston. Tickets had sold for $100 a seat.

His violin, the same one used in the Boston concert and at the Washington Metro station, was valued at $3.5 million.

What happened when this concert violinist, dressed in normal clothes, played unannounced before commuters that Monday morning?

A small handful of people stopped to listen.

When the performance ended there was silence.

No-one applauded.

About twenty people gave money, although the majority who did so dropped coins in the violin case without stopping.

In total he made $32. Yes, $32.

Too often we assume that talent is easy to recognise. It isn’t.

There isn’t always a sign post pointing out where to find creativity.

You can always ignore talent and creativity because you are too busy to stop and listen.

On that busy Monday morning most people missed out on experiencing beauty. Some of the greatest pieces of classical music were played by one of the most talented musicians on the planet, on one of the finest instruments ever made.

But almost everyone missed this. All because the context had been changed.

Which leaves us with a question.

What talent are you overlooking because you are just too busy?

And if your talent is being overlooked, you are in very good company, so don’t take it to heart.

By the way, you can see a time lapse video of the experiment with Joshua Bell here

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