While surfing around Pinterest recently after my children fell asleep, I came across a beautiful story. You may have already heard it, but it really spoke to me and how it relates to our AJS community. First the story, and then I will share my thoughts.
There once was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. As he was walking along the shore after a big storm he found the vast beach littered with starfish stretching in both directions, as far as the eye could see.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer, and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the boy continued. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!” (adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley)
We all have the opportunity to help initiate positive change. But, if you’re like me, you may oftentimes think, “I’m already super busy and over-committed, and how much of a difference can I really make?” This is especially true when talking about tremendous social issues, like curing cancer or ending world hunger. But, if you’re paying attention, little opportunities to make an impact present themselves in many ways in our everyday lives. So when I catch myself thinking that way, it helps to remember this story.
It may appear that our team here in the AJS office exists solely to produce a trade show. While that is our focus, we are always mindful of our actions, and how they impact you. Before we take any action, or implement any new idea, we ask ourselves, “Is this in the best interest of our community?” If we find the answer to be yes, only then will we move forward. The understanding that we each hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today—right now—is a powerful insight and motivator for me.
While you might not be able to change the entire world, you can certainly change a small part of it for someone, or even a starfish. And for that one starfish, it can make a world of difference.
See you soon,