What are some ugly truths of life?



This is Joshua Bell.

He is one of the most prolific violinists ever.

His violin, the Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius, initially cost him $4 million. It’s worth $15 million today.

As part of a social experiment, Joshua dressed as a homeless man, and stood playing his multi-million dollar violin, the Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius, at a busy metro station in Washington.

The abysmal results shocked even him.

Over 1000 people passed by. 75% of them didn’t even turn their heads.

The first person to attentively listen to his melodies was a 7-year-old girl. It is said that children are the most objective judges of talent; maybe she was able to hear something everyone else missed.

Not five minutes had passed however, before she too was yanked away by her mother, who was visibly very busy that morning.

At the end, Joshua had collected around $30 from passers-by after playing for about an hour.

A few days later, Joshua played the same music on the same violin, but at a concert. His estimated earning rate is $1000 per minute. (This is not a typo, I’ve already looked at this sentence multiple times before hitting the submit button).

The ugliest truth about life is that

No matter how talented you are, how successful you’ll end up is dependent on whether you started your journey as a sophisticated music prodigy or a homeless man.

A concrete manifestation of this truth is Quora itself. The number of upvotes is influenced less by the quality of the answer, and more by the number of followers you happen to have on the day you wrote the answer.

EDIT: This answer is not bashing the people who passed by Joshua. They certainly have destinations to reach. What I want to do with this answer is to make you imagine a very talented and hard-working boy born into abject poverty. He doesn’t know of any other platform of showcasing his talent other than the metro station. Will he ever succeed (unless he finds the right outlet for his talent)?

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