Making a Difference

At sunset, a tourist was walking down a deserted beach. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed the man he saw was a local native. The native was leaning down, picking up something and throwing it out into the water. Time and again, he kept hurling things out into the ocean. Curious, the tourist approached even closer, he noticed that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing back them into the water.

Puzzled, the tourist said, “Good evening friend. I was wondering what you were doing.” “I’m throwing these starfishes back into the ocean. You see its low tide right now and all these starfishes have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen,” the native replied.

“I understand” the tourist said, “but there must be thousands of starfishes on this beach. You can not possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast? Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?” The native smiled, bent down and pick up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “I made a difference to that one.”

Make a difference. In these challenging times, we are pre-occupied with working and earning for a living and all that pertains to us, to us and the people we love. But have we thought of planning to make a difference in this world through our chosen professions? Idealistic, impossible it would seem but if we just try to do something about it like how the native threw those starfish back into the ocean, little by little through all our concerted efforts, guided by the values of honesty, excellence and perseverance, we can see the difference, the change in this world we wanted to achieve.


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