The butterfly effect

The sensitive dependence on initial conditions is the essence of chaos. We might more commonly know it as the butterfly effect.

The theory states that the small variations in the initial conditions of a dynamic system produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. Accordingly the flap of a butterfly’s wings can change the weather patterns forever. It was discovered by a meteorologist, Edward Lorenz in the early 60’s.

This made me think a bit about the things that we do on a daily basis. For the sake of argument, let’s apply the butterfly effect to our lives. Our lives are dynamic systems. We are not static. Every day we change something about ourselves. Yes, the different perfume today contributes to the dynamic system.

If the theory holds true, it will mean that if I change something very small today in my life, it will have an impact not just on my life, but also on someone else’s somewhere down the line.

I don’t want to bring the argument of nature vs. nurture into it, but think about it for a couple of seconds. What did you say to your child this morning before you left for work? Did you go to sleep last night angry at your partner? Or did you actually smile at someone while driving in traffic this morning.

Your actions might seem like something trivial to you, but it can cause a major ‘storm’ for someone else.

Take something as simple as smiling. It is a very small gesture, yet it is so contagious. Ever tried to be angry at someone when they smile at you with heartfelt happiness? You can not remain in a sullen mood. You have to return the smile. That smile puts you into a better mood, and everybody around you senses it!

My anthem, if you will, for this year is Power UP! I want to increase my ‘power’, my wellness. The challenge lays in a very simple and small action, with large variations in the long term. Before you say something today, think about how it will affect you, and more so, how will it affect you and the people around you in the long term.