the butterfly effect

Decision-making is one of the most stressful aspects of my (albeit young and somewhat inexperienced) life due to its terrifying cyclical nature. After you make a tough decision, you’ll probably have to make another one soon. It never ends. And guess what? Not making a decision? That’s also a decision. 

Are there any decisions that are easy to make? Well, yes and no. Yes if you’re willing not too over analyze the decision and it’s possible impacts but no if you’ve ever heard of the butterfly effect.

The butterfly effect, not the sci-fi film that got 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, is a chaos theory that says small actions can have a huge impact on the future. While this can be a very hopeful way of looking at your life, it can also immobilize you with fear. Guess which it’s done to me.

If every tiny decision you make has the capability to alter your life forever, what if you slip up one day and ruin everything? Another perspective, of course, is ‘what if you slip up one day and something amazing happens?’ The trouble is, there’s no real way of knowing what the ripple effect of one action or one decision will be until you’ve already made it. I know I’ve had my fun pondering the possible outcomes of the tiniest decisions (like which brand of gluten-free cereal to buy) and this can be a sweet way to pass the time, but it will also stop you from doing anything ever; And this is, as I said before, unfortunately, also a decision. So, is there anything to be done? Maybe. Hopefully.

I can tell you what I’ve done, or what I’d like to be doing; The one thing I’ve found helpful, and I mean consistently helpful, is making the decision as soon as it is presented to you. There are, of course, some inevitable negative impacts of this strategy but those will have to wait for some further musing. If you make a decision right as it is presented to you, one of two things will happen:

a) you will discover it was the wrong decision and then find some way to undo it.

b) you will discover it was the right decision and be glad you didn’t waste time laboring over it.

I can’t pretend I’ve fully or even partially implemented this strategy in my own life, but the few times I’ve managed to force myself into making what people more athletic than myself call a “game-time decision”, some invisible weight has been dissolved.

So, now it’s your turn to make a decision,

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1 Comment

  1. Aleta Margolis says:

    I’m so glad you decided to write this!


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