One day, an old man was walking along the beach in the early morning and noticed the tide had washed thousands of starfish up on the shore. Up ahead in the distance he spotted a boy who appeared to be gathering up the starfish, and one by one tossing them back into the ocean.
He approached the boy and asked him why he spent so much energy doing what seemed to be a waste of time.
The boy replied,
"If these starfish are left out here like this they will bake in the sun, and by this afternoon they will all be dead."
The old man gazed out as far as he could see and responded, "But, there must be hundreds of miles of beach and thousands of starfish. You can't possibly rescue all of them. What difference is throwing a few back going to make anyway?"
The boy then held up the starfish he had in his hand and replied, "It's sure going to make a lot of difference to this one!