The “butterfly effect” refers to the idea that a small flap of a butterfly’s wings in one location could set off a chain of events in the atmosphere that could lead to large scale alterations or consequences, such as a tornado, in another location. The butterfly effect concept relates to the sensitive dependence on initial conditions as applied to chaos theory. In simple terms this means that a small change or activity in one location within a complex system results in large effects or consequences in another location or situation. Chaos theory is used to study the behaviour of dynamic and complex systems such as the weather, the changing landscape, the environment, medicine and biological evolution.
The concept of the “butterfly effect” can also be applied to our work and personal lives to provide insights about:
- Considering how everything is interconnected
- Understanding the law of cause and effect
- Knowing the impact of the choices and decisions you make
- Accepting the results you create
- Achieving significant outcomes through small actions
Your personal and business life is part of a larger network of connections. You generally find that an action made (or not made) in life can have multiple influences and effects. For example, in the recent Brisbane, Australia flood, if water was released from the dams progressively as the dam levels were rising, could this have avoided the flood that Brisbane experienced? Related to this observation is the law of cause and effect which states that for every action there is an effect or reaction. In other words, “You reap what you sow”.
Your pathway in life and the decisions you make can also create ripples in life just like a “butterfly effect”. We are continuously faced with decisions that we have to make in life. The decisions could relate to education, career, lifestyle, personal development, opportunity and investment, that can change your pathway to higher prosperity. Of course making the wrong decisions could lead to a negative outcome. These inflection points in your life path will create your future destiny. You therefore have the option to influence your own destiny or allow your destiny to be dictated by external influences. In summary, “The decisions we make and the action we take today will determine our future results and outcomes”.
To achieve significant outcomes you need to reduce activities into small manageable tasks that require action. By mastering each of the small actions and disciplines, you build momentum that allows you to achieve the bigger outcomes that are linked to the actions.
A simple approach that can be implemented to achieve results is outlined below:
- Goals – Set your S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives.
- Beliefs and Emotion – Establish a positive mindset and remove any limiting beliefs.
- Decision – Develop a plan of activities and tasks by making the right decision. Take into account all the impacts and influences the decision will produce.
- Action – Take small incremental and disciplined actions based on the activities and sub-tasks that you document in your plan.
- Results – Achieve the results and successful outcomes that you deserve.
Dr John Kapeleris