Last week my Sunday newsletter was about making a difference for others. This newsletter struck a nerve with some readers. More than a few told me it reminded them of their higher calling and helped them deal with their burnout. One reader shared an amazing story of the values she learned from her parents.
And one reader sent me a note about being disappointed in having helped only one person. This reader didn’t believe that making a difference for one person is enough.
There is this old story about a child walking down a beach covered with starfish. The tide has receded, and the starfish are suffocating in the sunlight. Many of them will likely die. There are thousands of them.
As the child is throwing the starfish back into the ocean, a man says to the child, “Why are you wasting your time throwing these starfish back into the sea? You can’t possibly make a difference.” As the man is finishing his sentence, the child picks up a starfish and launches into the water, turns to the man and says, “I made a difference for that one.”
Just One Person
If you want to change the world, start by helping just one person. If you help just one person, you have already changed the world. You have certainly made the world a better place for that one person.
It doesn’t matter that no one other than the person you helped will know that you made a difference. It doesn’t matter that you can’t help as many people as you would like to. Make the difference you are capable of making now. When you can do more, you will have a chance to multiply your efforts.