The Butterfly Effect – Why Everything We Do Matters

I’m sure you’ve heard of something called The Butterfly Effect.

In a nutshell, it means that one seemingly small and insignificant act can create large effects.

It’s usually said this is something that happens in a localized environment, and this may be true. But because I feel we’re all connected to one another in some way we’ll probably never understand with our limited physical minds, it lends merit to the idea that everything we do matters.

The truth is, we never know how one small act will affect another – even if it isn’t directed toward them. So it wouldn’t hurt to keep an open mind regarding what it is we put out there in the world.

However, this has just as much to do with our seemingly insignificant, unconscious, and unintentional acts as it does with the things we’re fully aware of.

Don’t believe me? I’ll share an example of the butterfly effect at work in my own life.

The Butterfly Effect – Why Everything We Do Matters

I’ve written several articles about how I’ve changed my eating habits.

A long time ago, I suffered from eating disorders. I was also over 200 pounds.

I’ve shared all of this in several of my articles on this blog and on the web. I talked about what it took for me to change my life, and I’ve often referred to a particular salad when I’d discuss the type of person you’d need to become in order to develop and maintain healthy eating habits.

That salad was “the jolly green salad.”

But I’m not sure I’ve ever discussed the story behind it.

It’s the butterfly effect at work, so I have to elaborate here. Keep my story in mind the next time you take action. You never know whose life you might change.

The Jolly Green Salad

20 years ago, I worked in a salon (one of many). I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m a licensed Cosmetologist. I still maintain my status.

Anyway, one day, I went around and asked everyone what they wanted for lunch. I was fat and getting fatter, so I was happy we all decided to go with the local health food restaurant for the day.

My choice was a chicken caesar salad. To me, that was the healthy option ’cause, you know – lettuce.

One of my co-workers, however, chose the jolly green salad. I don’t think it had any meat or anything in it. Just vegetables and maybe some nuts or seeds with a light, vinegar based dressing.

She appeared happy with her choice. As though she really looked forward to eating that salad.

I remember thinking:

“I wish that would be something I would choose with such enthusiasm. She clearly prefers this type of thing without needing to be on a diet (she already was slim and active). That would have to be the case for me in order to stop dieting so much.”

That epiphany, which came out of an innocent and otherwise meaningless encounter, helped to change my life.

I didn’t take action immediately because I somehow knew, given this observation, that what I would need to do required an internal transformation – rather than just a behavioral change.

But, none-the-less, it stuck with me.

The jolly green salad.

I would have to become someone who would naturally choose things like a jolly green salad if I were to free myself from this hell that my life had become because of my destructive relationship with food.

There’s no need to ramble on about how I managed to implement this into my life because I’ve already done so. I had also written a post sharing some of my salad ideas – long after this became my new reality, which was inspired by another one of my former co-workers.

And she, like the one I’m talking about today, probably had no idea how she impacted my life with regard to my eating habits.

But I needed to tell you how all of this began because as you can clearly see, it’s The Butterfly Effect – working its magic.

What Does This Mean For You?

The message of The Butterfly Effect is that everything we do matters.

We affect one another with every thought, belief, and action we encompass.

It’s usually the small things we do – the ones we pay little, if any attention to that can make the biggest impact. In my case, my former co-worker had no idea she was about to alter the course of my life. In fact, until the other day, we had lost touch. Prior to re-establishing contact, I never had a chance to let her know the role she played in my life.

As it turned out, I played a role in hers as well. I took action on something 20 years ago that helped her alter the course of her life.

Who knew? I sure didn’t.

It was a pleasant surprise for both of us to have this conversation filled with such positive revelations.

And since I feel synchronicity is a natural, yet almost magical component of the human experience, I don’t think it’s any accident that life presented an opportunity to relay this info to one another.

To top it all off, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week, so this entire thing provided me with a damn good topic to cover.

The Butterfly Effect

You never know who’s watching, listening to and observing you.

You may never understand how you’ve impacted someone’s life – and how this created a ripple effect across the seas.

They say The Butterfly Effect is usually a localized phenomenon. But since the effect it had on my life transformed the direction of my career in several ways (this blog, nor my writing or wellness coaching would exist otherwise), some of you reading these words, which are created because of this change, do, in fact, live across the seas.

The same idea can be said regarding some of the negative things we do as well. I remember things like this when I’m in traffic, waiting impatiently in line somewhere or just in an overall shitty mood.

I’m aware there may be someone watching me, and it’s my responsibility to make sure others don’t suffer because I am, regardless of the reason.

Now, of course, as I say all of this, it doesn’t mean I’m not cognizant of the fact that I’ve done some lousy things in my past that allowed The Butterfly Effect to alter the course of people’s lives in negative ways.

I own everything I’ve ever done. But this is because I can see clearly now.

All I can do is care about how I affect others now and send blessings and acknowledgments of my actions to those I’ve hurt – hoping they know, somewhere deep inside of them, that I would never mistreat them again. I use my past mistakes to guide me toward being a kinder, conscious and more compassionate human being.

So just think about this and see if it makes an impact on you with regard to how you carry yourself – both in thought and deed.

To end this, I thought I’d share a video that, in my opinion, explains The Butterfly Effect perfectly.

So tell me, have you ever experienced The Butterfly Effect?

Want more bullshit-free wisdom? Check out my latest book “Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity).”

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Dana Gore

Author of the books "A Simple Guide to Exercise Safety (What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You)" and "Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity)", Dana Gore is a health and fitness professional, wellness coach, and freelance writer. Dana brings guidance to the public about how to achieve optimal health in a safe and structured manner while inspiring her readers to seek self-awareness and inner peace as a means to well-being in all areas of life.

14 thoughts on “The Butterfly Effect – Why Everything We Do Matters

  • at 9:00 am
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    Hi Dana,
    By going through your post on butterfly effect, I think Newton was right “Every Action has its own equal and opposite reaction.” It do matters a lot to everyone. But nobody seems to bother it.
    Great one… Keep up your good writings….

    Reply
    • at 12:42 pm
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      Hi Ugyen,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Yep – everything does seem to have an equal and opposite reaction. At least, that’s what I’ve observed.
      I think the opposite reaction has a lot to do with the true intent of the individual. People seem to think they’re conscious of what they think and therefore, do…but our true intentions always speak louder than anything else, even when we aren’t aware of them.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • at 6:25 pm
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    Hi Dana. I think everyone has experienced the butterfly effect, though maybe not as obviously as in your example. When two people interact, either directly or indirectly, both people are changed in some way. It probably won’t be obvious and they might never be aware of the change or where it came from. It’s really cool when it is obvious.

    Reply
    • at 10:28 am
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      Hey Ben,

      Yep, I think we’ve all experienced it too. It’s always at play. But it is interesting to see it in action when you’re consciously observing it.

      It’s possible I wouldn’t have even paid as much attention to the specific example I used in my post here, but because I write about it so much, it keeps coming up. Plus, re-establishing contact with the person who I talked about brought it all back to the surface, so I found it was worth mentioning because it was such a powerful experience for me.

      Good to see you Ben 🙂

      Reply
  • at 10:02 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    Funny thing is I’ve heard about this before but didn’t know it was the Butterfly Effect. So I get it completely.

    When you really think about it, why even do anything if it doesn’t matter. Everything you do should have some kind of impact.

    Very insightful Dana 🙂

    ~Lea

    Reply
    • at 3:50 pm
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      Hi Lea,

      Well, I’m glad to be the one to help explain how this works 🙂

      It’s an interesting topic to think about. Makes you think a bit more about the effects we have on one another, even with regard to the small things we do.

      Awesome you found this insightful. Thanks so much, Lea.

      Reply
  • at 9:31 pm
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    Hi, what can I say …. Beautiful, Great, awesome !… I love the Butterfly effect and the video can really make a difference in someone’s life. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • at 3:51 pm
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      Thanks so much.

      Yes, I loved that video too. I think it was a commercial, but regardless, it had a great message. Perfect for this post 🙂

      Reply
  • at 8:53 pm
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    Hey Dana!

    Wow, this was deep gf and I totally agree with you! Everything we do comes back to us. The smallest gesture can make the biggest impact….even negative things we do can have a major negative impact.

    I believe when we put the needs of others before our own gives the universe balance. Can you imagine how wonderful life would be if we all practiced that concept?

    I had to laugh at the chicken cesar salad – I used that same excuse too. It’s lettuce, right – so it has to be healthy. 🙂

    As always, this is a great post hun! Hope you’re having a great night!

    Cori

    Reply
    • at 9:41 pm
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      Hey Cori,

      Haha yeah. All it took was some lettuce and I figured I was good to go. Never mind the 800 calorie dressing.

      Yeah, I know everything we do matters. People have made a huge impact in my life without them meaning to – sometimes in a great way (like the example in this post) while others not so much.

      But I know the same can be said about me. I know I’ve hurt people. Sometimes I wanted to, sometimes I didn’t. But I’ve helped too. Both I’m sure left an impression. Who knows what it led to over time?

      All any of us can do is know that life works this way and care about what we put out there, even when it seems like no one is paying attention. Usually, someone – or something is.

      I’m so glad you liked the message. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • at 10:44 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    I LOVE the Butterfly Effect and strongly believe in it. Yes, it always happens to me. Some would chalk it up to coincidence, but I don’t see it that way because I don’t believe there is no such thing.

    Being aware of your surroundings and lending a helping hand for even the smallest detail will keep one in a good energy. Letting a car go by in front of you, helping someone carry a package, little things like that…just living that way. Then, when I really need something it is magically there! LOL.

    Even in business…giving in different ways always has a wonderful return.

    -Donna

    Reply
    • at 12:08 pm
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      Hi Donna,

      Yep, I agree with you regarding coincidences.

      Everything we do matters, so yes, those little things are important. We may never reap the rewards of our good deeds immediately, or at all for that matter. But they do count, and I feel they impact us all in powerful ways.

      This goes for the not-so-good deeds as well, so I’m, also mindful of that.

      I just think it’s amazing how we affect one another. Sometimes, we take an action that may mean nothing at the surface, but somehow, it creates this ripple effect that alters the course of things. I see it happen in business – and everywhere else.

      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
    • at 1:37 pm
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      Great thought.
      Easy to get caught up in the worst in life. It’s good to pay attention to the state of things, but always remember the miraculous nature of reality as well 🙂

      Reply

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