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Date:12/21/2014 9:19:11 AM
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One Starfish at a Time
Once upon a time there was a very smart man who was convinced he could solve all the big problems of the world, like poverty and war and hunger, if only he could get away and think. So he sold his house and said goodbye to his friends, and retired to a cottage on a tropical beach.
However, things did not go as planned. The smart man could not get any rest in his new island hideaway, because every morning he would be woken up at low tide by something going PLOP, PLOP! outside his window. He pulled the blanket over his head, but still he heard it--PLOP, PLOP! He mashed his face into the pillow, but still he heard it--PLOP, PLOP! Finally he could stand it no more and went outside to see what was making that awful noise.
Outside he found a young woman walking on the beach. She was surrounded by thousands of starfish, which had been washed up on the beach at high tide. As she made her way down the beach, the woman stopped and picked up starfish and threw them back into the water--PLOP!
"What on earth are you doing?" The man asked the young woman. "I am trying to solve all the earth's problems and you are keeping me form getting the rest I need to think!"
"I am solving the problems of these starfish," the woman replied. "They all washed up at high tide and now they are stuck. I am throwing them back in the water before they dry out and die."
"But look at all these!" the man said. "There are thousands of them. You alone cannot possibly save all these starfish! You can't make any difference at all."
All the time the man had been talking, the young woman had been picking up starfish and throwing the creatures, as far as she could, back into the sea--PLOP! She bent down and picked up another star fish and gave it a mighty throw. It sailed out over the water and landed in the waves with a satisfying PLOP!
"Made a difference for that one," she said.
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