"One day an old man was walking down the beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. As the old man approached the young man, he asked, "Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?" The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. The old man exclaimed, "But there must be thousands of starfish. How can your efforts make any difference?" The young man looked down at the starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said," It makes a difference to this one!"
At times in our lives, we are all the old man, the young man, or the starfish. Sometimes, as the old man, we don’t see the purpose to actions. Sometimes, as the young man, we persevere and make a difference. And sometimes, we are the starfish who just needs a little help.
Original version of this story by Loren Eiseley