One day a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a man going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. Back and forth he went. As he approached the man he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as a result of the natural action of the tide.
He was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. The man continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.
“You must be crazy,” he said to the man. “There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
The man looked at him and stooped down and picked up another starfish and threw it back into the ocean.
“It sure made a difference to that one!”, he said.