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The Starfish Story: one step towards changing the world - By : Peter Straube

You may have heard this one, but I find that it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of it every once in a while. First let me tell you the story, and then we can talk about it.

“Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

We all have the opportunity to create positive change. But you sometimes find yourself thinking like “I’m already really busy and how much of a difference can I really make?”

You might not be able to change the entire world, but at least you can change a small part of it for yourself and for someone matters to you, be it your family, relative or friends and society.

One of the most common reasons we procrastinate is because we see the challenge before us as overwhelming, and that a good way to counter that is to break the big challenge down into smaller pieces and then take those one at a time–like one starfish at a time. And to that one starfish, it can make a lot of difference.

This has been noticed that students who are preparing for examination when see the vast syllabus, they find themselves in confusing state. It is like throwing one into the sea; that means syllabus is so vast if they sit for preparing simply without making any selection. One needs complete one year to read whole syllabus. By that time exams are on the head, candidates are not fully prepared in each topic and after reading the entire syllabus they are not even in position to tackle any of the question perfectly. Therefore, selective study is very important in civil service preparation. One should know what to study, what to be given more importance, what not to be studied and etc.

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