The Starfish Story



Loren Eiseley 


Action; Storytelling

A man saw an old woman stooped over on a beach covered with starfish. He asked her what she was doing, to which she replied, "I am throwing the starfish back into the sea - if I don't, they will dry up and die."

Laughing, the man said, "But Old Woman, there are so many starfish on the beach, you can't possibly make a difference."

She picked up a starfish and threw it back into the sea. Then looking at the man, she said, "I just did to that one."

The next day, the old woman visited the beach to check on the starfish. She saw the same man and his children throwing the starfish back into the sea. "Hello, Old Woman," he said with a twinkle in his eyes. "We are here to make a difference to a few more starfish."

Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley 1907 - 1977
There are hundreds of variations of this lovely little starfish story  on the web.

Making a difference can seem overwhelming, especially if you view your actions to be inconsequential. But if enough individuals impact just one other person, then collectively we can impact the world.

On a much smaller scale, in the Knowledge Management sphere, start sharing knowledge yourself - don't wait for everyone else - you may wait for ever! And you might just start to make a difference within your own organization.

Video: BLU Lesson 3: How measures distort behaviour by David Gurteen

One of six BLU lessons on 'how measures distort behaviour' by David Gurteen.

In April 2005, BLU, the UK's Business Link University which no longer exists hired Fifty Lessons  to produce a series of video stories for them to which I (David Gurteen) was invited to contribute. This is one of those stories.

Media Information: Image

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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