Everyone knows the starfish story, right? In case you don’t: a man’s walking along the beach where he spots a boy picking up starfish along the shore and throwing them back into the ocean in order to save them. He questions the boy on the futility of his effort, that he would make little difference, to which the boy replies: “It made a difference to that one”.
At recent drinks with a group of friends, the conversation revolved around how we envied those who seemed to be doing work that matters. Look at them go – feeding the hungry, fighting for social justice, championing education for those who don’t have it. How great is it that they’re making a difference to the world? Sometimes, it feels like we’re wasting our days, performing menial tasks rather than creating impact. It’s all too easy to envy others’ achievements and beat ourselves up for not doing more, being more.
Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like what you’re doing is too small to matter
Having wallowed quite sufficiently, I believe I have achieved a little enlightenment: just because you’re not part of an NGO that is saving something or someone, doesn’t mean that what you’re doing, is not worthwhile. Just take a look at the Japanese. Regardless of whether they’re working as a train operator, a janitor or a 3-Michelin sushi chef – every person believes that what they’re pursuing is a worthwhile endeavour that requires constant polish and improvement (their word for it is kaizen). This is the foundation of their society and what makes them great.
Brands like Laneige make a difference through meaningful campaigns like the Waterful Sharing Campaign that works to provide clean water to communities that live without it
So rather than envy others, think about how you can, through what you’re already doing, make a difference in someone’s life. By far, one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my capacity as editor was a chat with a Marie Claire reader who was invited for one of our events. A young mother who’s only in her early 20s with a passion for fashion design, she had put her studies and career on hold but felt it was now too late for her to pursue her dream. I shared with her my journey so far and the story of others that I knew of (Vera Wang only became a designer at 40). I gave what wisdom I could and hopefully, we’ll get to see her designs on our catwalks one day.
The Marie Claire team tries, with every issue, to make a difference through the stories they write. We hope to inspire and instil appreciation for craft, legacy and art through our reportage on couture – our theme this month. Our Women We Love throws the spotlight on deserving local talents like Yokie Theam.
Creative and tenacious, Yokie Theam is one of the women we love
We are also trying to build awareness for the case of local child brides, as well as International Day of the Girl Child (read Let Girls Grow Up! in our October Issue).
What we do within these pages is not bigger than what everyone else does. Start with what you know, and in time you’ll see the difference you can make.