What is the Butterfly Effect?
The Butterfly Effect, which originated in chaos theory, is built around the idea that small actions can have large consequences. It is named after its most famous example: The beating of a butterfly’s wing influencing a chain of events that leads to a tornado! Funnily enough, this example has led to a common misunderstanding; that the small action and large consequence will always be directly related. In reality, the result can not only be huge, but completely unpredictable!
The first time I came across the Butterfly Effect was at a dinner party. A friend of mine told me he had plans to write a book about how nothing would be the same in our lives if we happened to alter just one of the many tiny decisions that make up our day. This novel idea stuck with me and today I would love to share with you how being aware of the Butterfly Effect has become a powerful source of motivation for me.
What Butterflies have to do with finding Satisfaction
I love the power of small actions. They are a vital part of my lifestyle. But I’m far from perfect… My mind is still wired to crave big results and sometimes my trust in the step by step approach falters. I grow impatient and doubtful. I know I’m not the only one!
This is where the Butterfly becomes my ally! When I’m feeling like this. I stop and reflect on a recent moment of satisfaction, and retrace my steps to see if there were any small actions that made it possible! Let’s put an example and count down:
6. Last week, I had an amazing day, and the icing on the cake was that I met an inspiring woman who gave me some gorgeous advice. I felt so grateful, and we are slowly becoming good friends, so I started digging deeper: What led to our encounter?
5. I received a last minute invitation to the event where we met, and the only reason I was able to go was that I had finished my professional goals earlier than planned, a whole 45 minutes early! Lucky?
4. Maybe not! I finished early because I felt energised and focused which helped me find a state of flow in my work.
3. My energy came from a wholesome breakfast I had cooked with love at the start of my day, instead of a rush of toast and cereal on the go.
2. I took the time to cook a special breakfast because I had built up a big appetite during my 5 minute Wim Hof Pushups and Breathing Practice.
1. That morning, instead of hitting snooze I chose to jump out of bed promptly, which gave me an extra 5 minutes to exercise!
The tiny action of getting out of bed on the first alarm (which I’m sure we can all relate to!) made this inspiring friendship possible, something I could never have expected; and that’s the beauty of the Butterfly Effect!
Put your wings to work like Butterflies do!
The Butterfly Effect demonstrates the power that small actions have, but its unpredictable nature frees you from trying to control the future with expectations of related grand achievements. It keeps you focused on the present, comforted by the knowledge that each small step has unimaginable potential.
Learning about the Butterfly Effect has provided me with a great source of motivation:
- It has reinforced my belief in the power of small actions.
- It has helped me to let go of my desire to control the future.
- It has encouraged me to commit to the process and not the result
So, when you are feeling insignificant; like nothing you do matters or makes a difference, try tracing back a recent achievement and see what humble beginning gave it life. Then, count how many of these small actions you have already performed today, and consider the potential of each and every one of them!
And if you are still feeling small, maybe the Dalai Lama can put it better than me:
‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room’