The Butterfly Effect

Years ago I concluded that those of us who seek to be in complete control are chasing the wind. Before you disagree, understand that my definition of control is having the power to direct events or people to obtain a specified outcome by the party doing the directing; i.e. take control of the steering wheel. We, like particles in the air, are always been affected by and are having influence on whatever is around us at every given moment.

When we say yes or no to someone asking us out; it is directly dependent on the person asking us. Without the ask, we don’t have the chance to direct the outcome. Some will argue whether that example has anything to do with control. Try this. Control your breathing right now. Control it such that you stop breathing, control your lungs at that same time so that it does not begin to burn for air. Do this for 15 minutes. I can’t do this for longer than 1 minute before my head starts to hurt and my lungs start burning. Do it long enough and you need another person to come along and control your breathing.

Now, on a micro-level there is one thing that you were in complete control over in that moment; your decision to hold your breath. We are in complete control of our decisions. We may give in to impulses or desires but somewhere inside of that process a choice is being made. When we are in “control,” we are simply making either conscious or unconscious decisions. (and yes, there is still choice in unconscious decision making) But that’s truly all that we have control of…choice.

I have grown more and more conscious of what is influencing the decisions that I make moment to moment because I realize that is the only thing I can really control. I know that after each choice there is an effect on not only other things and individuals in my circle influence, and then on and so on, but on myself as well. Thus, I am protective of HOW I do things because I know ultimately these are choices and choices are transformative. It is a compound effect. This is why the journey IS the destination. When we say yes to X, it then directs: how we will answer the same question next time, others reactions, and who we ultimately become. Since most of us cannot see all of the potential outcomes for everything and everyone when we simply decide to say yes; we should let go of the idea that we are on control of anything. We need to embrace our interdependence, be as conscious of what is influencing our choices as possible and trust the process will lead to a desired outcome. That is the closest we can get to “being in control.”

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