Sometimes amidst all the noise, turmoil, and vitriol that seemingly bombard us endlessly, it can be difficult to pause and remember what’s truly important in life. And sometimes, that reminder can come in very unexpected ways.
Recently, I have been reminded of how our individual actions, albeit small at the time, can have a ripple effect on others without us even knowing it sometimes.
Thinking about this phenomenon reminded me of a lesson my mom used to teach us called “the butterfly effect.” So it goes, “an act as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can create a tsunami on the other side of the world.” (My mom always said she would come back as a butterfly—how fitting.)
The butterfly effect has become a common metaphor for how small, seemingly insignificant moments can alter history and shape destinies and how some ostensibly inconsequential acts or gestures can profoundly impact others and, therefore yourself.
Recently, this lesson was reaffirmed once again in the most unexpected way.
Inspired by my children, I penned a letter on social media questioning if one person’s voice could make a difference. The overwhelming response triggered a very unexpected series of events, new acquaintances, and unique experiences I would never have imagined. Two years later, that tsunami of events is still moving and growing and has ignited in me a passion for continuing to foster it.
This journey has led me to cross paths with and meet some incredible folks doing remarkable work. I have also had the opportunity to meet and mentor some extraordinary young people. Together, we have worked to help bridge differences and open up candid conversations among a diverse group of people, a focus that has become critical in today’s environment and extremely rewarding.
I am astonished as I sit back and think about how that one superficially small action has sparked so much positive momentum. I see the impact it has had on others and felt its effect on me.
So, if you, like me, ever sit back and wonder if you can make a difference in someone’s life, your community, industry, or workplace, you absolutely can. Every one of us has the power to impact our surroundings. Just start with one small thing, one action, or a nice gesture.
As my mom would say, go out and flap your wings! Because as the butterfly effect goes, you just may cause a tsunami of kindness, generosity, or joy in someone else’s life. You never know where that tsunami may lead.