(I’ve only ever told and heard this story verbally, it’s a story I heard from my mentor Indusium at Westwind. Stories are flexible like a game of telephone, they are slightly different with each person and retelling, so bear with me)
One day, there was a great storm over the ocean. The thunder boomed and the lightning crackled. The waves of the sea roiled and swirled as the rain stirred it.
The next morning, an old man was walking along the beach. The storm had scattered starfish all over the beach, and he took great care not to step on any of them. He came across a little boy and watched as he picked up a starfish, took a step back, and hurled it into the sea as hard as his little arms could manage. After a moment, he picked up another, pulled his arm back, and hurled the starfish into the sea. The old man asked the little boy “Little boy, why are you doing this? There are thousands of starfish on this beach, surely you cannot save them all.” The little boy paused and looked at the old man. In response, the little boy picked up another starfish, pulled his arm back, and hurled it into the sea as hard as he could. He then turned to the old man and said, “for that one, I made a difference.”