I trust many of you have heard of the butterfly effect. In case you haven’t, it is the idea that a simple action (a butterfly flapping its wings) can have an effect on greater systems (contributing to a typhon). I’m not sure about all of that, but I am sure that our actions create a ripple effect.

I prefer the ‘pebble effect’ when you toss a small pebble into water, the effect is the rings that spread out from the point of impact. That’s how I view the impact of our actions. Whether they be good or bad, our actions have an effect outside of the point of impact. Make someone angry by cutting them off in traffic, they may then drive more aggressive causing an accident down the road. Make someone happy, they may continue to spread the act of kindness to others.

Just like the ripples in the water, the effect of our actions diminish the further from us they get. Throw one pebble into a pond and you would not get much effect. Throw several and you start to disturb the surface of the water. Throw a bucket full and you create a great deal of change.

In our real world example, more pebbles can be accomplished one of two ways. We can commit random acts. If we cut everyone off in traffic, we will create a street of aggressive drivers. We start doing random acts of kindness for all of our coworkers, and the office becomes a lot more pleasant of a place to work.

The other way to create vast amount of change on the surface of the waters of life, is to recruit others to throw some pebbles in with you. I recall when I was in high school, we did a thing called a “river clean up”. It amounted to the entire class pulling garbage out of a nearby river. By the end of the day, the river was a lot cleaner. Certainly, one person picking garbage out of the river would have helped, but the impact would have been less and taken a lot longer.

Again, it is important to know this works both positively and negatively. Hitler did not work alone and neither did Martin Luther King. They both had people ‘standing on the shore, throwing pebbles’ with them.

The last thing I want to share with you about the ‘pebble effect’ is that it diminishes with time. Just like the ripples from the pebble will eventually fade, so will the effects of our actions. That is why it is important to act with love, compassion and kindness as often as you can. Why not try the “30 days of kindnesschart above?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.