The Starfish Story

Please allow me to express my gratitude for this wonderful story! It is one of my favorites!

Gratitude-StarfishSome time ago, a writer with a long and successful career built a magnificent home on the coast of Oregon. It was his ritual each morning to rise and climb the winding staircase to his studio that faced the beach. There he would sit, gazing out of a huge picture window, silently drawing inspiration from the ever-changing wonder of the sunrise. Enriched by the beauty and serenity, he would then begin to write.

One morning the writer awoke as usual. headed upstairs, and began his quiet meditation. The sun was just coming up and a soft mist hung over the shore. As he gazed out at the beach, he was transfixed by what looked like a mystical dance, far off in the distance. He found himself completely fascinated as he tried to make out what it was; soon he could think of nothing else. After a short time his curiosity overpowered him; he simply had to know what it was. He put on his coat and began to walk down the beach toward the mysterious figure.

As he drew nearer he could see that the ‘dancer’ was a young girl, around eleven or twelve years old. Again and again she bent down to grasp something from the sand, then ran out into the waves. She moved gracefully and purposefully. When the writer drew very close, he realized what she was doing. One by one, she was throwing starfish into the sea.

As the writer looked down the beach, he saw that thousands of these beautiful creatures had been washed up on the shore. He approached the young girl and said, “Good morning.” Quietly she returned his greeting. Then he asked her, “What are you doing?”

As she pointed toward the sunrise, the girl said simply, “The sun is coming up and the tide is going out. If I don’t pick these starfish up and throw them into the water, they’ll die.”

In his wisdom, the old man looked down at the girl and shook his head slowly as she reached for another starfish. “Young lady,” he said, “there are thousands of starfish and just one of you. Don’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

Briefly, the girl look up into his eyes, then bent over again, grabbed a starfish, and flung it into the sea. As she passed him on her way back up the beach, she stopped for just a moment. With a gentle smile she assured him, “I made a difference for that one.”

Make a difference for someone today.

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. sha on February 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

    beautiful girl with beautiful heart beautiful story with beautiful message

  2. Tweets that mention The Starfish Story -- on February 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marcia Manzello, Paul Taubman. Paul Taubman said: The Starfish Story […]

  3. Laurence Hansen on February 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Thank-you for this beautiful reminder of the difference each one of us can make in the world.

  4. Menka on February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

    “Hi Paul,” “there are thousands of starfish and just one of you. Don’t you see that you already made hues difference?” You made my day everyday. LOL. It is hilarious.

  5. james samy on February 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

    The story about the starfish and the young girl showed a new way seeing things. “Make a difference for someone today” should be in everyones aim today. Thank you for sharing Paul … Cheers to you

  6. Jeannette WEbb on February 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Paul, Thanks for sharing one of my favorite stories. If we could all carry that message daily – making a difference for just one person.

  7. alisa on February 27, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I love this reminder! we can make a huge difference in a small way!

  8. Antoine McCoy on February 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    That’s what it’s all about-Making a difference for just one person. Thanks for the story and making a difference through your blog posts, Paul.

  9. Dops on March 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Beautiful and inspiring story, Paul… making a difference in our own little way, Thanks for this… =D

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