The Butterfly Effect is a theory that illustrates how seemingly small and insignificant actions can have a profound effect elsewhere. Popular imagery depicting the effect: a butterfly in South America flaps its wings, which then causes a storm in North America.
The idea is that if just a tiny part of a long string of events went another way, it all could’ve played out differently. Small, seemingly inconsequential things leading to major events.
I finally took the leap to start this website when I saw a promotion on DreamHost where it cost only $1 for an entire year of web hosting. I ran into that special while browsing Lifehacker. How different would my life be if I were still procrastinating on starting Self Stairway?
If I hadn’t been on Lifehacker that day, I wouldn’t have landed my dream job. And because of the frequency of how often they publish new articles, I might have missed seeing that specific one if I had been on the site at a different hour.
Similarly, I found my dream job while sitting in my room browsing Twitter, something I rarely do. What if I had missed that simple tweet back then in the wave of all the others? Would I have built my own business or met all the amazing people I did? Would I have been able to spend a year in Southeast Asia and experience exponential growth in all aspects of my life?
We could go back even further. If my parents hadn’t pulled me from my private school in 5th grade and placed me in a public school, I wouldn’t have met a close friend of mine who introduced me to location independent entrepreneurship.
And further… If my mom wasn’t mad that I had been hiding the amount of problems I got wrong on homework, she wouldn’t have remove me from my old school in the first place.
It keeps on going. Series of chance and coincidence, all building upon the last to get me to where I am.
If my 10th grade English teacher hadn’t told me to avoid using large words where a small one would do just fine, you might be reading an article I wrote while consulting the thesaurus every other sentence. Would this site have reached its current state if my writing was that dry?
Every action you took, all the small events that occurred, and the external influences around you shaped you into who you are today. That includes both the good and the bad things.
You may be twice the person you were three years ago because of some horrible experience in the past that changed your perspective on the world.
How many experiences do you have where you once wished you could take it back? Those same experiences are the ones that helped you grow and become better.
It won’t always be good, but you’ll live a much more rewarding life if you know how to roll with the waves that drag you down. Know that waves which push you further from the shore force you to swim that much harder. That energy spent getting back to dry land built your body just a bit more than if you were able to simply walk back.
Make everything that happens to you a lesson so you can be more prepared the next time around.
Life’s not so bad. Remember that. It’s beautiful and your perspective changes everything.