The Starfish Story

One of the most well known stories about making a difference that is frequently passed around the web goes something like this …
The Starfish Story

A young man looked up and replied “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.”

The man looked around him at the hundreds of starfish on the beach and thought that this was quite a futile thing to do, there was no way the man could throw all of the starfish back into the water.  He stayed for a few minutes and watched this young man picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them into the water.  Surely he must be mad, so he asked “Why are you throwing them into the water?”

The young man responded “The tide is out, and they will all die.”

“You can’t possibly throw all of them back into the ocean” the older man replied “There are hundreds and hundreds along the beach, it wont make any difference if you throw a few back.”

At this the younger man picked up another starfish, threw it into the water and said “Made a difference to that one.”


I have always enjoyed this story.  It is very true that small acts can truly make a difference.



“The path of true abundance comes from spending time, thought, and energy on those areas of my life that are most fulfilling to me. Over time, this is how I create the life of my dreams.”

Today this is the inspirational quote at

Reading this quote makes me think of all of the things I do out of habit, instead of paying attention to my thoughts and what I am doing at each moment of the day.

Spending time and energy on things that give joy seems obvious, but most of us tend to focus on things that we dislike, or not focus at all. Years ago, some students at my school were asking everyone if they ate due to being hungry, or out of habit.  Habit won hands down.  I believe that most of the things we do every day are due to habit.

Being conscious of what we are doing, being mindful of our thoughts and actions is not an easy thing to do at first.  However, I find that when I make the effort to do this I enjoy myself much more.  Being “in the moment” is far more interesting that going through life on autopilot.

It’s not an easy habit to pick up, at least not for me.  While I may be able to do this for a few hours, it’s not long before my mind wanders too far and I tune out. 

I plan on working on this more using some of the techniques found here