The Butterfly Effect

In a society where we value more, better, and different, we can easily lose sight of the impact of small changes both on our own lives and on those around us. Big dramatic changes don’t just happen, they are the result of many smaller changes that together can lead to major breakthroughs in our lives.

How many people here have heard of the butterfly effect?

The butterfly effect is a term originally created by Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist. Lorenz theorized the effect when he observed that runs of his model for predicting weather would be heavily impacted by very small changes. Based on the huge impact of minute changes on his model, he theorized that a tornado in lets say Kansas could potentially be created by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil….look out Dorothy…

Take this concept and apply it to your own life; How often do we go to work day after day wondering when the next breakthrough is going to happen? How often does it seem like everyone else is closing the big sales and we are trudging along?

What we don’t see is that the “movers and shakers” in any organization are reaping the rewards of years of small actions. We don’t see that every time we give a referral to someone for example, we are building trust in little pieces. Every time we send an email to someone we are touching them subtly. Every time we answer the phone with a smile we are making a small difference both in the other person’s day and in the way they think of us.

To combat the sense that nothing is changing fast enough start celebrating small wins. My favorite deli owner had the perfect response to “How Are You Doing?’ He would say “I woke up, it could not be better.” By the way, he owned several delis and had an estate in Saudi Arabia, his home.

It’s the small victories that lead to the big ones, whether it’s talking to that person you just did not want to talk to, or eating an apple instead of a candy bar, each little victory is like the wind from a butterfly’s wings and we just don’t know how or when they all add up. We do know that every little action has a ripple effect and enough of those over time will create a breakthrough.

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