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The Butterfly Effect: How Every Action Matters

The butterfly effect serves as a reminder of the delicate balance we must maintain on a daily basis


Edward Norton Lorenz, a mathematician, and meteorologist who was one of the first supporters of chaos theory is credited with inventing the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect is a concept that describes how small changes can have a big impact on large, complicated structures. The concept derives from the idea that a butterfly flapped its wings in Brazil, and Texas had tornadoes instead of clear skies a few weeks later.

As with the butterfly, the same could be said for any of us. Not only are our possibilities limitless, but we are frequently unaware of the consequences of our decisions. The butterfly effect serves as a reminder of the delicate balance we must maintain on a daily basis. That we rarely stop to consider how our words, moods, and actions affect those with whom we come into contact.

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Minor behavior can have big consequences, and we cannot predict the outcome. Even small acts can have far-reaching consequences. We can’t predict the ripples, but we can flap our wings like a butterfly anyway, knowing that our behavior will contribute to a flurry of activities. Here are a few minor incidents that had a major impact on the planet.

Assassination of Gavrilo Princip

On June 28th, 1914, Gavrilo Princip opened fire into the Archduke’s open car, killing both the Archduke and his wife Sofia. The assassination set in motion a series of events that would culminate in the outbreak of World War I less than a month later. No one could have predicted that a single death would spark the First World War, which would result in the deaths of about 16 million people and the wounding of another 20 million.

The assassination set in motion a series of events that would culminate in the outbreak of World War I less than a month later. Pixabay

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a human rights activist of African descent. Parks defied the bus driver’s instructions to give up her seat to a white passenger on December 1st, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Irene Morgan and Sara Louise Keys, among others, had taken similar action. Despite the fact that these two women fought for equal rights on public transportation before Rosa Parks, it was Parks who launched the modern civil rights movement. On December 5th, 1955, a group known as the Montgomery Improvement Association was formed to organize a bus boycott. They elected a relatively unknown minister as their president of the Dexter Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr., and the rest is history.

ALSO READ: The Power Of The Placebo Effect

Frank Epperson’s popsicles

A young 11-year-old boy left a mixed drink on his back porch by accident overnight. The drink left outdoor by Frank Epperson had frozen overnight with the stir stick still standing upright. He didn’t think of selling it as an ‘episicle’ of seven flavors until 1923. The name was later changed to popsicles and kids and adults alike still love them today.

There are many minor incidents in history that contribute to major events. There are generations yet to be born whose very lives would be shaped and shifted by what you do today or tomorrow and the next day because everything you do matters.



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