Do You Want To Make A Difference?

Today I planned to finish the “Covfefe Disorder” trilogy (Parts I and II are here and here), but then I found myself in a conversation with someone on a matter that is extremely personal to them. They had managed to find a negative in a situation that was completely 100% positive. We spoke a little about this, and we discovered that their negativity wasn’t related to the specific positive situation, but rather the bigger, overall struggle they face. I suggested trying to find steps to make things better, but they felt like they had to change the whole world in order to be effective. Their final statement was “I can’t change it, so what’s the point in trying?”
Well, here’s my answer.
This is a common thread I am seeing right now. Hopelessness is strong. We have mass shootings averaging more than one a day (source). In fact, even if no more bullets are fired this year, we have enough for more than one a day for the whole year. Not something to be proud of as a nation. And remember, these are mass shootings, four or more people. “I can’t change it, so what’s the point in trying?”
We are in a world that appears to be falling apart. We can’t trust our leaders. There is so little stability in anything. There is turmoil, discrimination, violence, political corruption, cuts to healthcare, mental illness growing at alarming rates, and still people don’t take it seriously… Where do we even begin? Maybe the person I was talking to was right, “I can’t change it, so what’s the point in trying?”
OK – So why the Starfish? Years ago I heard a story that inspired me, and still does to this day. Hopefully it will inspire you to see how you too make a difference. The story goes like this:

A small child was playing on the beach one day and came across hundreds of starfish that had been washed up. The child starts throwing them back in the sea one by one to save them. She had been doing this a while when an adult walked up and asked what she was doing.

“I’m throwing the starfish back into the sea to save them.” She said.

“But there are hundreds of them!” Laughed the adult.

“Yes.” Replied the child as she picked up another one.

“There’s too many, you’ll never make a difference.” The adult mocked.

The child looked at the starfish in her hand, and threw it into the sea.

“I made a difference to that one.” She said.

Do we have to change the world to make a difference? Are the big issues facing society really so big that “I can’t change it, so what’s the point in trying?”
Maybe they are, but I prefer to think the little girl with the starfish was on to something, “I made a difference to that one.”
Here are the three take aways for today:
1 – Making a difference doesn’t mean changing the world. Making a difference can be as simple as making someone smile today. You may not change the world, but you’ve changed their world.
2 – When you find a positive, share it. It will help you to see more good in the world, and Heaven knows, we see enough negative, so share something good and add a little to someone else’s day.
3 – Challenge yourself to find one “starfish” every day. Find something where you can make a difference. You don’t have to change the world to make a difference.
As I have said many times before, I am not into cheesy clichés, but there is one phrase I think is true – “Be the change you want to see.”
You don’t have to change the world, but you do have a choice of paths. Which will you choose today: “I can’t change it, so what’s the point in trying?” or “I made a difference to that one.”?
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11 thoughts on “Do You Want To Make A Difference?

  1. I would argue that any kind act (or any act) does change the world. No matter how seemingly small every action has a reaction and the chain of that action is not always calculable. To be more positive, to have hope, you must be positive and have hope. A bit of a loop, but you can’t expect to do the same things and get a different outcome.

    1. That’s a fair argument and not one I will argue with 🙂 I think that people often don’t do the little things because they don’t think it has an impact, when in fact it can have a massive effect.

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