Sunday, December 04, 2011
Sometimes we lose .2 of a pound, and we minimize this loss, thinking that it's not even worth acknowledging because it is such a small amount. When we have 50, 75, 100, 150, or more to lose, .2 of a pound feels like a drop in the ocean. But that loss does deserve acknowledgement, and we are doing ourselves a disservice by downplaying it.
There's a wonderful quote from Mother Teresa that speaks to the topic of feeling like your efforts are only a drop in the ocean: "We feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." She was a wise woman. Every effort, no matter how small, is important because it contributes to making the whole.
I read a short story once which beautifully illustrates the idea that small efforts do matter. It is called "The Starfish Story," and it is based on a story by Loren Eisley. It goes like this:
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, "What are you doing?"
The youth replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up, and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die."
"Son," the man said, "don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make a difference!"
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, "I made a difference for that one."
Give yourself credit for any progress that you notice, no matter how small it might seem to you. Each mile, each foot, or each inch of progress means that you're moving forward, and that deserves not only acknowledgement but celebration.