There is a story of a young boy walking up and down the beach picking up starfish, that had been washed up onto the shore, and throwing them back into the ocean. An older gentleman, seeing what the young boy was doing, approached him and said “There are thousands of starfish that have been washed up on shore, you’ll never be able to make a difference.” The little boy picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean, looked at the old man and said “I made a difference to that one.”
In today’s world we have bought into the mindset that in order to be able to make a difference, we have to accomplish something as significant as finding a cure for cancer. We believe we can only make a difference if we are in a position of power like the President of the United States. We think that we have to be some type of celebrity or famous person in order to make a change in our world.
In the story mentioned above we see that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can still make a difference. It doesn’t matter how minuscule the task you are doing, you can still make a difference. It doesn’t matter how young you are, you can still make a difference. It doesn’t matter what other people say or think, you can still make a difference.
Making a difference is based on two things:
1) Your perspective.
If the young boy in the story was focused on the thousands of starfish on the beach instead of each individual starfish, he would have quickly lost hope. As a whole it didn’t look like the boy was making much of an impact, as the old man had pointed out, but individually the boy was making all the difference in the world. In other words if you were to compete in the Boston Marathon, in order to finish the race, you can’t be focused on the distance you have left to travel or you will find yourself overwhelmed, you have to concentrate on just putting one foot in front of the other. It all boils down to your answer to the question “Is the glass half full or is it half empty?” You have to focus on the distance you’ve traveled and not on what you still have left. If your perspective is on how far you have come instead of how far you still have to go, then you’ll start to see that you’re making a difference.
2) The individual.
Jesus said “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) Most of the time, we never realize how much of an impact something we do can have. A simple hug could seem very insignificant to you, but to the person receiving the hug, it could mean the world. Your pocket change might not amount to much, but in someone else’s hands it could go a long way. Picking up the phone and calling someone you haven’t talked to in a while doesn’t look like you’re making an impact, but to the individual on the other end of the line you could be making all the difference.
Don’t allow other people’s opinions keep you from making an impact. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too young or too old to make a difference. You don’t have to wait for someone’s permission. Start making a change today. Be a difference in someone’s life today. Go out and make history.