Column

Do we really know what is in front of us

I heard this neat story the other day about a violinist who played for about 45 minutes in a busy subway during rush hour. During that time, only a handful of people stopped to listen or watch and of those, only a few applauded at the performance. For his time, the violinist only managed to raise about $30 in tips.

It was all part of an experiment.

You see, just a few days before that subway performance, that same musician had played to a sold out theater where tickets averaged $100 apiece. The man was Joshua Bell, a world-renowned violinist. The string instrument he played in the subway was worth $3.5 million.

As it was explained when I first heard about this, “the experiment proved that the extraordinary in an ordinary environment does not shine and is so often overlooked and undervalued... There are brilliantly talented people everywhere who aren’t receiving the recognition and reward they deserve. But once they arm themselves with value and confidence and remove themselves from an environment that isn’t serving them, they thrive and grow.”

Reading about the whole experiment got me to thinking on the concept of learning to appreciate where you live. Whether it’s in Day County or elsewhere, I believe there’s always something special to be found about where you live.

I was especially reminded of a couple years back when the South Dakota State University Department of Architecture students were in the area. After these out-of-towners had toured and scrutinized Webster’s business district with an outsider’s eye, they went on to describe the city with a high level of praise, calling it a “hidden gem.” Friends and family who have visited me since I moved here have always been impressed with the area, too. Within the last couple years, other newcomers who have moved to the community have described it as being like the picturesque “Mayberry.”

Yet, it seems like there tends to be this local perception that people are always looking for something different, like this area is sub-par. Maybe some folks just have a “the grass is always greener on the other side” type of syndrome going on. Even for myself, having lived here for a while now, I had to stop and think about what kinds of things I may be taking for granted.

Like the story of Bell in the subway, I think we all need to make sure we’re not overlooking the hidden gems about where we live. We need to have confidence in where we call home plus do what we can to help them thrive and grow.

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