An old Buddhist monk was walking the beach with his young novice. There had been a storm the night before, and the beach was covered, literally blanketed, in starfish that had been washed up in the storm. Thousands of starfish, tens of thousands.
As the older monk began his teaching with his novice they walked down the beach, just as they usually did for the morning lesson. However, every few steps the older monk would bend down, pluck a starfish from the sand and toss it into the sea. He would keep walking, quietly delivering his message, and again, another few steps, pluck another starfish back to the ocean.
After a few minutes the novice asked his master “Why are you bothering? There are so many. It won’t make any difference”. The novice could see it was a pointless and hopeless task, there were just too many to be saved.
“Ah, yes” replied the old monk, “but it will make a difference to that one”.