Go Ahead, Toss the Starfish!
There is an old story that tells of a man walking along a beach when up ahead in the distance, he catches sight of another man acting strangely. As he gets closer, he notices the man is picking things up from the sand and throwing them into the water.
Upon reaching him, he sees the objects being tossed are starfish, stranded on shore by the retreating tide. Curious about his intentions, the first man asked, "What are you doing?"
"I am saving these starfish," he replied. "They won't survive in the sun until the tide returns."
Totally taken aback by this statement, the first man said, rather indignantly, "Aren't you being a little silly? Do you not realize how many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of starfish there are in the sea and that by throwing a few back will make absolutely no difference at all?"
The second man said nothing but was unfazed. He picked up yet another starfish and threw it out into the waves. He hesitated for a moment, then looked back the first man and said, "I just made a difference for that one."
It is an old story but a good one and it still serves to remind us ? or maybe just me ? of several important life lessons.
Given the unrest in the world of late and the day-to-day pressures, people endure; it comes as no surprise that too many of us have become conditioned to seeing our lot in life from a jaded point of view. We learn to accept the notion that we, as individuals, have no real control and/or that in the big scheme of things, what we do or influence, doesn't really matter. As a result, we tend to retreat psychically, so as not to deal with conditions we believe beyond the realm of our control.
The net result is we act in ways in keeping with a defeatist's outlook, or to borrow a phrase, to see the glass Half Empty. Almost everybody can think of people they know that fit this profile ? perhaps even they themselves.
The starfish story serves to underscore the importance of a basic human psychological need for people to find balance and purpose in their daily life.
One could argue about who benefited more, the starfish or its benefactor. At the risk of sounding a little 'out there', we might ponder the question; in this example, whose life was made better? An answer might be that the starfish's life was saved but that the man, albeit on a small scale, found 'Purpose' and no doubt, the feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing something good for others.
Although it would be easy to dismiss this observation as being a little academic or foolish, psychologists, nevertheless, will tell us that genuine feelings of - in this case, doing something simple but good ? automatically influence one's physiological chemistry. Simply put, when we feel good, our body produces endorphins that stimulate our brain and vital organs, which in turn, helps promote better health, pleasure and improved life-balance. We have all heard the expression, It is better to give than receive. Believe it!
Granted, the starfish example is a simple one, but the premise or law still holds true for human interactions more complex. For those who possess 'Purpose' ? even marginally ? find they are more in control than out. The fact is, they cannot be directionless if they have a 'Purpose'.
Many find purpose in their job or career. They do not dread the work they do; they embrace it and benefit from it. In the workplace, they are a pleasure to be around. People, who find purpose in family, are apt to achieve enjoyment, satisfaction and pleasure in their own life ? but only in the pursuit of their purpose, achieved only by serving others ? which brings us to perhaps the most important point.
A generation ago, purpose-based coaching was more structured, finding bedrock in the traditional family unit, educational and religious institutions. We were all taught the Golden Rule: "Do unto others". Sadly, however, we now live in different times. The traditional family unit has changed. It might even be broken. Religious institutions play less of a role with a greater number of people and today's work environment is more challenging, complex and stress-filled than ever before.
The result? Near epidemic numbers of people suffering from depression and health related breakdowns. A world filled with too many individuals bereft of passion, purpose and self-fulfillment. As Mazlow once said, "Most people live lives of quiet desperation".
Therefore, what can we learn from the starfish scenario? Two things.
1) The act of saving the starfish, in the end, brought greater benefit to the man than the starfish. "It is in the GIVING or the doing that we help ourselves!" Our reward? Purpose? A reason for being.
2) The Contagion Factor: Although the starfish story clearly demonstrates a moral, benevolence and wisdom, it stops short of casting light on the ultimate outcome from such an activity. It is no stretch to believe that the second man may have been inspired. In so doing, he may reevaluate his own jaded outlook, and wish to emulate the kindness he'd witnessed.
We know that an unselfish act serves as its own lesson and motivates others to react in kind. It is infectious! It is also circular or better put, "What goes around, comes around". It brings with it, renewed purpose, balance, hope, health and satisfaction.
So go ahead? "Toss a Starfish!"
About The Author
Paul Shearstone aka The 'Pragmatic Persuasionist' is one of North America's foremost experts on Sales and Persuasion. He is also founder and President of The CFIDS Foundation of Cda Inc [A registered Charity]. As an International Keynote Speaker, Author, Writer, Motivation, Corporate Ethics, / Time & Stress Management, Recruiting Specialist, Paul enlightens and challenges audiences as he informs, motivates and entertains. To comment on this article or to book the Pragmatic Persuasionist for your next successful event we invite to contact Paul Shearstone directly @ 416-728-5556 or 1-866-855-4590 www.success150.com or email@example.com www.paulshearstone.ca.
Something About Nothing
Buddhists study nothing because they have found that you must know nothing before you can know or create anything.
Ever Wondered Why Everyone Else is Moving On, Except You?
"I attend courses, read books, listen to CD's, yet I am still not living the life I want to and am unhappy with the life I have. How can I have the life I want to have?"
You Can Make a Difference
When I study of world these days, I see a lot of despair, and hopeless. There are countless problems that our society faces such as war, the degradation of the environment, and crime
Just Think of Kyle!
This morning at 5:22am to 6am, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed is an understatement considering I am still crying and it's like 7:15am. I am at work typing away.
Change Your Landscape by Seeing with New Eyes
A Story (Source Unknown) ? One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. Upon return from their trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. "It was great, Dad," the son replied. "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh, yeah," said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" continued the father. The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to leave on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them." The boy's father was speechless. Then the son added this last remark: "It showed me how poor we truly are."
Alone But Not Lonely
In today's fast paced society, we've become accustomed to filling the eeriness of silence with fluff. We turn to many distractions as a means of escaping feelings of idleness or boredom. But the main thing we wish to elude is loneliness. Solitude does not have to alienating or lonesome. In fact, solitude and loneliness are distinctly separate.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of October 13, 2003
Just One Person We All Need
I understand that all the self made people of this world, be it:
Energy Work Basics Part 2: What Lifts Your Spirit?
Remember, everything is made of energy. Each of us has an energy field. Our thoughts and emotions extend beyond our physical bodies and influence the people and spaces around us. The energy of thoughts and emotions hangs around in spaces after the people have left.
Words Of Wisdom
Carlos' Words of Wisdom
My Next Year With Jesus (Joyful Reflections On My Walk With The Lord)
The one question I keep coming back to is...
Where Has All the ENCHANTMENT Gone? Long Time Passing
I thought you might enjoy reading a professional article I prepared several years ago. It is just as current today and really speaks to a tragedy in our health care system that we must all try to combat. I am trying to explain some of the problems of managed care which penetrate much more deeply than out pocketbooks. These problems penetrate our minds, bodies and spirits! I am eager to hear from you, as always.
Anamchara - Making Sense of Life
Many successful persons advise you start your day with a list of what you intend to do and achieve during your day. This is extended to include a week. It moves forward at specified time intervals until you advance through the years and the decades.
Comfort and Achievement
I'll share with you one of my deepest insights about achievement comfort and the desire to control even the slightest bump in the great ride we have come to call Life.
Built in Judge
In this world we don't have to afraid to anybody except to only one. Who is it? Where is it?
Thoughts on Loving
Loving. It seems like such a simple concept. But those who have mastered the act of loving are close to non existent. I'm not so much talking about the love between a husband and a wife, a father and a son, or the love between two friends?I'm talking about love in a more general sense. The love that isn't concerned with what it will get in return, for there can be no expectations with this type of love. I'm talking about the love of mankind, the love of people?merely because they are God's, and they deserve to be acknowledged in such a way. The love that I believe Jesus possessed as he walked from town to town, meeting strangers, touching lepers, noticing the unnoticed.
How A Sense Of Wonder Makes Life Richer
It always amazes me when I meet someone who has a disdain for expansion of knowledge.
For Old Times Sake
Direct Answers - Column for the week of August 19, 2002
What Company Does Your Business Keep?
A man is known by the company he keeps. We have heard that phrase so many times. Our folks have cautioned us often with that in our silly childhood. Do we heed to that advice in our business? Where do you hang out? What is your business surrounded by?
Just a Typical Teenage Boy
Judge not, lest ye be judged. ?Matthew 7:1
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|