Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kindness & the Starfish Proverb - Tremendous Impact in Little Steps

Today's blog entry is meant to be elegant and simple (see: short & sweet).  I am aiming for my shortest blog entry, ever.  Oh yeah, it's also a semi-retread (from an old Facebook post), so if it seems familiar, I wanted to revisit the topic.  I hate it when I'm "talking about talking" (Jimmy, shut up & BLOG already!).

I first heard this proverb told by a very bright young graduate of De La Salle High School, Patrick Maguire, a buddy of my brother Dan.  Thought I'd share it with y'all, as I love to be reminded that kind acts, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, can have huge scope and impact.

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the STARFISH proverb
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While walking the beach, an older man saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the sea.

As he came closer, he saw thousands of starfish the tide had thrown onto the beach.  Unable to return to the ocean during low tide, the starfish were dying.  He observed a young boy picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.

After watching the seemingly futile effort, the observer said, "There must be thousands of starfish on this beach.  It would be impossible for you to save all of them. There are simply too many. You can't possibly make a difference."

The young boy smiled as he picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the ocean.  "It made a difference to that one" he replied.
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Even when we are buried in the "high tide" of our busy/impacted lives (and many, many commitments), or the "low tide" of energy/health, choosing a kind attitude and actions will have a ripple effect with the people close to you, and you could possibly alter someone else's path whom you don't know.  I challenge you to be kind to everyone.

I've had more time (of late) but less energy, yet I've still chosen to be there for people as much as I can.  When I'm really busy (seems like every other week), I have more energy but less time, I'm aiming to be kind to strangers and have impact in every situation (even standing in line at the coffee shop can be an invitation to be kind).
The support, kindness and love of a crew at the Angeles Crest 100 in 2011 (at Mile 75)

I know many small things (from others) have made a big difference in my life.  Simple stuff.  It all starts from a baseline of kindness.

EXTRA CREDIT (ULTRA) CHALLENGE: be kind to those who are not themselves, kind. At least in the moment when you encounter a rude stranger, the way in which you interact with them could provide an alternative perspective/solution. Everyone returning that rudeness to them most certainly keeps them cemented in that place.  Being kind to others also starts with (and ends with) being kind to YOURSELF. That, may be the biggest challenge of all (for some)...

Two "kindness projects" in existence in the world (you should check these both out)!

THE 30X30 PROJECT*
*started by personal trainer Amy Clover

KINDNESS GOES VIRAL**
**started by singer/songwriter Katelyn Benton


I invite you to share your experiences below (tell me about when others have been really kind to you, especially a stranger) and share how it effected you.  Please POST COMMENTS below about your kindness experiences!
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