I remember reading a short story with a HUGE message years ago that had a big impact on me and how I view life. It went something like this:
One day a little girl was walking on a beach with her parents. They came upon a place where thousands of starfish had washed ashore and the tide had gone out.
Her mom said sadly, “Those poor creatures are stranded out of the water and are all going to die.”
The little girl thought for a moment, and then picked up a starfish and threw it as far as she could into the water, then bent to pick up another.
Her dad looked at her and said, “Why are you doing that? There are thousands of starfish and you can’t possibly save them all.”
She replied, “I know I can’t save them all, but I can save THIS one..” as she threw it into the sea and picked up another, “…and THIS one…”
I love how the little girl taught her parents an important lesson: Just because we can’t save everyone doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to help those we can.
Over the years I’ve learned that the story is an excellent reminder for a LOT of lessons including:
Big problems can seem very daunting but can be overcome by breaking them down into small pieces and tackling each piece one at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Addicts who focus on what they are doing right NOW often have a better outcome than those who constantly worry about the rest of their lives.
A kind act today is better than a million expressions of sympathy.
I have learned much from that wise and kind little girl.