I watched a great film recently called “The Butterfly Effect” and it got me thinking about personal development issues (which most things do!).
The film centres on a few main characters whose lives are indirectly or directly affected because one man can time travel back to his past. When he was a young boy this man had black-outs that no-one could explain and at this young age he began keeping a journal of his life. In the present he is dissatisfied with his life and as a college student has some personal issues. At this point he discovers that by reading the journal entries of things that happened just before the black-out episode he could return to that point in time and enter his younger body.
After his first journey back in time he notices that everything has changed in the present. Just by making very small changes back then his entire reality has changed in the present. As he continues to read his journal and make different decisions in the past his present changes more and more radically not just for him but for everyone around him!
This is an example of the butterfly effect.
The butterfly effect was discovered by a meteorologist, Edward Lorenz in the early 60’s. The theory states that even small variations in the initial conditions of a dynamic system produce large variations in the long term behaviour of that system over time. It gets its name from the belief that if a butterfly flaps its wings in London it can result in a tornado in New York!
Look again at the description of the butterfly effect “small variations in the initial conditions of a dynamic system produce large variations in the long term behaviour of that system over time”. Our lives, bodies and minds are dynamic systems!
So we can see clearly that we can use the butterfly effect to our advantage. By making small changes in one area of your life today you will change that area dramatically in the long term and over time it will change your entire life and also have an impact on many other people’s lives as well.
Lets take an example. You decide to set a personal development goal to stop smoking today. Ok you may say that the benefits are obvious – you will live longer, feel healthier and be able to enjoy more physical pursuits. But wait a minute. What effect will you stopping smoking have on your children? Children tend to follow the same patterns as their parents. Maybe they will never take up the habit which they may have done if you had continued to smoke. Do you smoke around others? In those extra years you will be alive on this planet how many people will you come into contact with? A story told, a smile given a rebuke listened to may dramatically change the life of someone else who, in turn, will have some sort of affect on someone else ad infinitum!
Take into account also that by reaching this personal development goal you will gain tremendous confidence in yourself and your ability to set and reach other goals.
A small action made by you may cause a tornado in the life of someone else!
Start in your own personal development by taking small steps. This is another excellent reason to set goals and have a personal development plan which involves small stepping-stone goals. Because even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal, you will make tremendous changes in your life in the long term by reaching just one of your stepping-stone goals.
I would advise you to try to get your hands on a copy of the Butterfly Effect and you will see what I am talking about. Maybe then you will be motivated to make changes in yourself one small step at a time and reap the benefits of your own ‘tornado’ for years to come!