Monday, May 25, 2009

Create Your Butterfly Effect

All too often we inhibit our minds from perceiving a particular situation or event as being real simply because we have no historical knowledge to draw from to form such a conclusion. At times it seems we are too afraid to dream or even think of that which has not yet been thought of before. The inability to perceive the not yet perceived reality unfortunately limits our thoughts and dreams to anchors tied to the past versus the future we need to create.

oo often the seemingly impossible stays perceived as impossible simply because someone didn’t dare to dream and think a new thought.

There was one such perception that remained quite unimaginable for centuries that is until, by accident, one small seemingly insignificant event changed everything. The size of the initial and resulting event was beyond comprehension by most if not by all until that day occurred. No one would have ever imagined it to be true or even possible until an American mathematician and meteorologist, Edward Lorenz, made an unbelievable discovery up to that time in history back in 1961. Even though nearly ten years earlier, back in 1952, a story written about time travel by Ray Bradbury, presented to the world, the notion that one butterfly could have an effect on a subsequent historical future event. Even though it was a newly perceived idea, it’s realm of possibility with the current mode of thinking at that that time was just too great for most to take it seriously. Most waved it off as “highly unlikely” that is until a one man decided to change how he did things.

It wasn’t until Edward Lorenz decided to make a move and change something by actually demonstrating the chance existence of a new perception of reality by using a numerical computer model to rerun a weather prediction, did such a notion become real.

It all happened when Lorenz created a computer program to model the weather but in one shortcut he took on the numbering system in obtaining a reprint of that weather pattern printout he decided to personally type in the numbers himself. Normally, Lorenz used the output from the computer to feed directly into the weather pattern model, but today he decided to do something different. While manually entering the numbers, instead of entering the full .506127 number into the model as the computer normally would, he entered in the decimal .506 as a shortcut, omitting the last three decimal places. Little did Lorenz know at the time how significant the difference in the results would be just by entering 3 decimal places versus the six decimal places normally inputted?

What Lorenz witnessed was not only surprising but also totally unexpected. He discovered that one tiny change he made – just one part in a thousand – had made a completely huge difference in the weather scenario results.

A completely different weather scenario had emerged all because Lorenz chose to make what he thought would be an insignificant tiny change in the input. Lorenz published his findings in the 1963 New York Academy of Science paper. After reading about Lorenz’s discovery, a fellow meteorologist remarked that based on Lorenz’s findings from the change in the weather patterns obtained after entering just a tiny fluctuation in the data number, one could predict that one flap of a seagulls wings could change the course of the weather pattern forever. You can imagine the implications throughout the scientific community. The notion that the tiniest alteration in current reality could change the course of events forever was not just mind-boggling but mind enabling. Proof that a small change in current conditions could have a ripple effect that could lead to large scale alterations in the chain of event s to come was not just note worthy, it was world changing worthy.

In later writings, Lorenz with some prompting form fellow scientist, began to refer to his findings with the more impacting thought of the flap of a butterfly’s wing to better illustrate the point Lorenz was trying to make based on the data he collected. The phenomenon was descriptive of the
Chaos Theory and named “sensitive dependence on initial conditions”, formerly referred to as the “Butterfly Effect”.

Sometimes we are honored with the role of “starting something” in order that, when the time is right, someone else can "finish it up".

That’s what I believe the unrehearsed plan was between Ray Bradbury and Edward Lorenz. Although they may not have known it, together they changed how we not only view our world but the impact we, each individual, can have on it just by deciding to engage and act within the system. The Butterfly Effect introduced us to the theoretical idea that even the moving wings of a tiny butterfly will create changes in the atmosphere that could cause a chain of events that lead to a large scale alteration in conditions to come. For example, it was stated that the flapping of a tin butterfly’s wings in one city on one side of the earth could have a large impact on the weather conditions in another city on the other side of the earth. Further examination of this theory introduced us to the notion that a tiny change in one thing today has the power to have a tremendous impact in changing the current patterns in another area of our lives in the future, just like the butterfly’s wings did with the weather conditions.

Every movement, thought, decision or action we take or not take now has an impact on what we will experience or not experience in the future, no matter how large or small the initial action taken was.

We must be
willing to make a measurable difference in what we are doing today in order to see a significant change in what we will experience tomorrow. All you have to do is choose differently today to change the output you get tomorrow. Just think abut it. How many times do you stop short of doing something different, of taking a new action, of thinking a new thought, just because you think it’ll never matter, it won’t make a difference, nothing will change?

As you go though your day, I encourage you to do so not only with an open mind but also with an open heart and spirit for spotting your “butterfly effect” opportunity. I know there is not one but many opportunities for us all to change how our future is created. However, in order for us to create the future we want to experience we have to be willing to create the long-term patterns that lead to that effect today.

YOU have the power within you to create a phenomenon that that will lead to success in your life and ultimately within the world. All you have to do is be open to your opportunity.