Make it Happen Monday: Butterfly Effect
I don’t mean to get all scientific on you here….but bare with me for a second. The butterfly effect is a phrase which encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. Small variations of the initial condition of a nonlinear dynamical system may produce large variations in the long-term behavior of the system. So this is sometimes presented as esoteric behavior, but can be exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position.
The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.
Okay, now for the simple definition: Something as small and simple as a butterfly flapping it’s wings, can ultimately create major effects such as that of a tornado. It’s a very interesting concept and it’s something to think about when contemplating a change in your own life.
Change can be viewed as cleansing, scary, unwanted, or many other things…and sometimes we resist or avoid change. Take a look at status quo North America. We take comfort in our consistent lives and keep each day as similar to the last as we can. But sometimes we have to make even small changes…step out of our comfort zone….and experience the great effects that it may have.
“After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.”
~Alfred Edward Perlman