The Butterfly Effect
According to Wikipedia, the butterfly effect is "a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory."
The easier way to illustrate the theory is to read Ray Bradbury’s science fiction short story, A Sound of Thunder. To make a "short" of the "short story:" A group travels way back in time to go on safari for a T-Rex. The hunting guide warns the hunting party that they must stay on a path to avoid disrupting the environment and only kill animals which were going to naturally die at the same time. When they come across a T-Rex, one of the party gets scared and runs off. After the T-Rex is put down (it was going to die naturally anyway) the group returns to the future. When they arrive back in the future, they find differences from when they left. The language has changed, people and the buildings have changed and the outcome of an important election has been reversed. The hunting guide turns to the individual who ran off. He asks, "Did you leave the path?" Upon inspection of his boots, they find a dead butterfly, whose death apparently is the cause of the changes to the future.
Do we sometimes stray from "the path" or the plan that we have created for ourselves? What are the butterflies on our boots? What do we choose to do or what do we choose NOT to do that has an impact on our future?
We all can look back to pivotal moments in our lives where we have made choices, for good or bad, which have impacted our future. Fortunately, most of our choices don’t have catastrophic impacts like in the Sound of Thunder. But, we should determine to be aware of our choices and the outcomes/effects that are associated. Tying our performance with our purpose is an important strategy in helping us guide our future. Referring back to our purpose on a regular basis and making sure that our actions, decisions and behaviors are in line with what matters most to us will help us determine a successful outcome of our future-butterflies or no butterflies.