By Andy Herrington

The Washington Post did an amazing experiment in 2007. They took Josh Bell, a world renowned violinist with a $3.5 million violin (a Stradivarius) and placed him in a DC subway one morning. He gave a 45-minute concert of some of the most challenging music ever composed. The experiment was to see what would happen.

Just before this, Bell had given a concert in DC where he sold out the building and decent seats cost $100, so imagine what the front rows went for. Now this same amazing man was free for all to hear in the subway. More than 1,000 people would hear him play that day. How many would stop and listen to him for free, or even drop a tiny donation?

Before I give the conclusion to this story, I want to ask you how often we presented with this scenario in our lives – where we get to be exposed to greatness for free. Where we are exposed to something amazing that others must pay for.

When this happens, do we treat it in the same way as the people who had to seek this greatness out? Do we have the same level of awe that the others will have? Frankly, for the vast majority of us, that answer is a resounding no. Really a 100 x 100-foot-sized billboard of no. The question is why.

We all know that we need to learn from others in order to grow. We seek these learning opportunities out and try as best we can to soak up with a sponge what they have to offer. The Tony Robbins of the world have audiences clamouring for their wisdom. But in every backyard, every office and in every person there are tiny Tony Robbins’ just sitting around waiting. We all have expertise that we can share with the world and I know for a fact that if someone came to you and paid for that expertise, they would sit and listen and take notes and do their best to run out and implement that knowledge in their own lives. Yet when we are in a meeting or random conversation or speaking to a group of people forced to be there, and we get this same opportunity to share our expertise, the majority of the listeners laugh off our ideas and notions. It is very frustrating and difficult to deal with. We get angry and disappointed and eventually shut down and stop sharing.

What we need to do is flip that last paragraph around and think about the times where we ourselves were exposed to expertise. Real expertise, not just someone’s random opinion. How did we react? I know I have not listened to real experts in the past because they were my stupid friends or some guy I didn’t know, or some guy I was really jealous of. I have shut down and brushed off their expertise with easy excuses so I could continue on my own path. It wasn’t until I began to open up and listen that I truly became good at finding the experts and listening to them and hearing the opinions of random onlookers.

I’m sure I still miss a few experts, but my goal is to stop and listen and look for the learning and growth opportunities no matter how successful I get or how knowledgeable I become. For I know that there are far more successful people and many more knowledgeable people out there and every time I learn, I grow.

Now back to the subway, Josh Bell playing the most beautiful music for free, and although 1,070 people passed by, the biggest crowd at any moment was six people. A whopping sum of $32 was donated that day. Ninety-nine per cent of the people didn’t even slow down for a stride to allow the greatness in their life.  Will you be part of the one per cent?

Andy Herrington is a real estate salesperson who was a member of some amazing top producing teams prior to becoming a real estate coach and inspirational speaker. His main message is for all Realtors to have “Belief in the message”, and to create a higher standard of professionalism for our amazing profession.


Leave a Reply