Have you ever wondered how you can change the world? Can anything which you as an individual do actually make a difference? I firmly believe that individuals can and do make a difference and am currently reading “How to change the World” by John-Paul Flintoff which is full of practical ideas and stories about doing just that. The book reminded me of a story in the Star Thrower – a book by philospher, Loren Eiseley. It is better known as the starfish thrower and was made into a children’s story called Sara and the Starfish. The story goes as follows:
An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
“Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.”
“But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.”
The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, “It made a difference for that one.”
If you would like to learn how to become a starfish thrower you might want to check out the event below which Jean-Paul Flintoff will be running at The School of Life on Thursday 15th November 2012. The course description states:
HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
“Today, increasing numbers of people are seeking to impact the world around them, becoming change agents at a local or global level. If you want to start making a difference, how can you get to join this wave?
By the law of inertia, we tend to remain passive. Yet inspiring examples of change agents are all around us – from the retired social worker picking up rubbish in his hometown to the social entrepreneur building schools for girls in Afghanistan. As we too identify our personal values and desired level of social engagement, we can focus our passion for a cause.
In this class, we also examine cultural and social resistance we may encounter in innovating new solutions – and look at how we might overcome this. And we address the fact that seeking to make a difference involves carrying others with us. Drawing on the strategies of tacticians in community action, we learn how to attract support and impact the system.
Whether you want to make a difference to address an urgent social need or for personal meaning and purpose, this course aims to provide inspiration, a healthy dose of realism, and the practical tools to impact the world around you.”
My suspicion is that you have probably always had a secret desire to become a starfish thrower in some form or other but didn’t know where to start. The How to make a difference course might well be a good starting point for you – go on you know you want to.
Posted by Shona Lockhart, 1st November 2012