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The Starfish

13 Oct 2015   Shanti Gowans

Stuck for inspiration, Jack, a writer, decided to walk up the beach at dawn before sunrise to greet the new day. As he was walking, he saw a young boy who was very busy throwing some things from the shore into the ocean. 

As Jack got closer, he saw the boy was picking up each starfish that had washed onto the shore and throwing it back into the water. Jack asked as to what the lad was doing. “The tide washed the starfish to shore and they can’t get back in the water by themselves” the lad replied. “When the sun comes up, they will die unless I throw them back in the water”.

Jack scanned the huge expansive shore. There were an endless number of starfish…as far as the eye can see!

The hopelessness of the lad’s plan was obvious.

“Young man” said Jack, “Don’t you understand? There are countless starfish. You cannot save them all by sunrise.You don’t really expect to make any difference?”

The boy thought for a moment, then picked up a starfish and with a big smile threw it as far as he could into the water. Then he turned to Jack and said: “It sure made a difference to that one!”


Great story, and analogy. Thought provoking and inspiring. 

We often don’t realise how much of an impact just one small gesture can have on someone. If we can make one small difference in someone’s life, even for a moment, then we have accomplished so much.

Even if we take some action and make a small difference in our own lives, it may not change the world on a grand scale, but it makes a world of difference to us!


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

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