Thursday, November 27, 2014

Making a difference

We live a brief span of time on this earth and during this time I am sure that we would like to meaningfully touch the lives of the people around us. We would each want to make a difference.
I used to think - I am only just one person, what can I do? When there are millions of people suffering around the world and thousands around us with little to eat or clothes to wear – what difference can I, as one individual, make?

Then I think about the quote by Helen Keller:
“I am only one
but still I am one
I cannot do everything
but still I can do something
I will not refuse to do
something I can do.”

We have the potential to make a difference in the lives of people around us. One of the biggest mistakes is to do nothing because you think you cannot make a difference. We can do big things or little things – sometimes even as little as a smile or a listening ear to a person in need. And while we cannot help everyone, we can help that one person – and our lives become more significant because of it.
I am also reminded of a beautiful story, I once read:-

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all."

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. "It made a difference to that one."
I hope that you are as inspired by this story as I am and that you will think of it the next time you feel that you cannot do much. Because you can really make a difference – to this one starfish – or to this one person – and that is all that truly matters.


  1. I am inspired by that story as much as your post did. There is one saying in Buddhism that if little droplets of water are constantly poured, they'll measure up to becoming a big ocean. So is the case with little good things we can do daily at individual levels. Keep up your spirit. I like it. Thanks

    1. Thank you Sherab for your encouraging words. I completely agree -it is little individual drops that make up the vast ocean, little daily things that make up the difference. Thanks.