UNWRAPPED: Follow the Butterfly – Consequential Time Travel

Personal Development, Unwrapped-Series
Butterfly on stones

You might have heard of the Butterfly Effect before. Maybe you’ve even seen the movie. Well, it has a nice philosophical aspect to it, that you might use when you would like to impress someone. And looking at such a clever movie can certainly give you some good chill.

But do you know, that you can use the Butterfly Effect through what I call Consequential Time Travel to make sure that your decisions today are really in alignment with your values, beliefs and goals?


What Will You Get out of It (if You Participate)?

By doing the below mentioned exercise regularly you will:

  • get to know the future consequences of your decisions and actions
  • be able to make better decisions in the here and now
  • get enough motivation to break through limiting habits

Background Info: What is the Butterfly Effect?

Let’s take a look at the definition of the Butterfly Effect on Wikipedia.

The butterfly effect is a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. Small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. This is sometimes presented as esoteric behavior, but can be exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position. Quantum chaos is the study of the butterfly effect in semiclassical physics and quantum mechanics.

It is a common subject in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with “what if” scenarios where one storyline diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes.

In essence, it states that small variations or changes now are leading to large variations or changes in the future.

Again it is crucial to understand that it is only about the small things happening now.

A small thing can be

  • you getting up 30 minutes earlier or later
  • you exercising today just 10 minutes (or not)
  • you going for that cheeseburger (or not)
  • you smiling at a person (or not)
  • you helping a stranger today (or not)
  • and so much more.

Actually everything, you can think of today is a cause set in motion that will lead to an effect. And you can’t escape from this. As I stated above whether you do something or you don’t, you always produce a cause set in motion, even if you refuse to do anything. Your refusal is a cause set in motion.

How Can You Use This to Change Your Destiny?

Think of it as a series of dominos. You move the first and the rest follows automatically. You start a chain reaction just with an initial impulse. What if most of your everyday actions, that you didn’t even notice are chain reactions. Knowing about the future consequences of your decisions and actions could help you become aware of what you really want to do as well as help you make better decisions in the here and now.

Action Steps: Now It Is Time to Stop Reading and Start Doing

Here is the general formula to use Consequential Time Traveling to your benefit.

  1. Observe your initial impulse: Observe one action that you are just about to do. Or think about a decision that you are about to take soon, and that you would like to make soon.
  2. Realize the short-term consequences: Imagine what you would feel like and what consequences this action or decision would have on your life in the short-term. This would be anything between one hour to one month.
  3. Realize the mid-term consequences: Imagine what you would feel like and what consequences this action or decision would have on your life in the mid-term. This could be around 1 year.
  4. Realize the long-term consequences: Imagine what you would feel like and what consequences this action or decision would have on your life in the long-term. This could be around 5 or even 10 years. You pick what would feel better for you.

Here is an example:

  1. Observe one thing you are about to do. Maybe it is grabbing for a beverage. Let’s pretend it is an ice-cold coke.
  2. Before you drink it realize the effect this would have on your body in the nearby future. Let’s say, imagine, how you would feel in about 1 hour.
  3. What would that effect have after 1 day? Especially if you continue to do it.
  4. What would that effect be after 1 month? Again especially if you continue to do it.
  5. What would that effect be in 1 year? Especially if you continue to do it.
  6. What would that effect be in 10 years? What would you look like, feel like and ultimately be like if you continued to do it for 10 years?
  7. Yet realize that all of this chain reaction started with the thing you are just about to do.
  8. Are you still willing to go for that coke?

Try this several times a day with some of your actions, until you get used to it. Then this process will only take about 30 seconds.

13 comments… add one
  • Yesss, small changes with an effect over long periods of time can transform intro BIG changes in the end. Personal development isn’t really about becoming someone else at once, but about this gradual and powerful change. People, starting with me, have so little patience! 🙂

    .-= Ideas With A Kick´s last blog ..Sometimes forgiveness isn’t the answer =-.

    • Patrick

      @Ideas with a kick: Eduard, haven’t you heard about the great prayer … “Lord give me patience, IMMEDIATELY” 🙂 Well I do sometimes need a bit more patience, especially when it comes to changing ones own habit. But slowly we are getting better with ever failure.

  • Edgar

    when one forms goals and expectations about what will happen in the future, knowing the outcome only lets you safely venture forward. when i was imblanced, i looked at a chick named amanda i knew the outcome, and it was destruction. she acted like i thought she would: A beautiful mess.

    • Patrick

      @Edgar: Well sometimes our hunches would be our best advisors, but learning to listen to them takes time and lots of episodes we we regret not listening to them in advance.

  • Hey patrick,
    Nice article on the day to day decisions. I agree to the fact that the smaller decision that we make come back as bigger surprises in the future. Well written. I saw ur comments on my blog. I will definitely take ur word of advice and develop it better.

    .-= Hathim´s last blog ..To God, with love =-.

    • Patrick

      @Hathim: Good to hear you are working on it. I really liked your approach. Could become a great blog. And also there, go with the small, incremental changes and you might grow it into something beautiful.

  • Hi Patrick,

    Reading through your post, I was wondering, hmmm, think about the future consequences. How much will that help? But the moment I read through the way you extrapolated 1-5 years into the future – that bought it home for me. This is powerful.

    So the cookie I ate an hour ago adds up to several kilos of weight over the next couple of years. And the bicycle ride I went on today afternoon translates into a wonderful, powerful body that can function as a well-oiled machine, just a couple of years into the future. Very powerful indeed, I will surely use this technique and keep you posted :-).

    Cheers,
    Krishna

    .-= Krishna´s last blog ..Believe your way to Success =-.

    • Patrick

      @ Krishna: Great that you got on the train. But you have to understand, that it is about continuous impulses. One cookie won’t do you harm, but being it the impulse that starts or continuous a habit is what brings the kilos on your waist.
      And it is the same with not continuing your habits. Not grabbing for that cookie won’t do you any good either. But if that first cookie you rejected was an impuls to follow through, you are on the way to a healthier life.

  • Patrick, I really like where you’re going with this post. Little actions have big consequences, and we don’t take enough time to really think about what those consequences are.

    On the other hand, there’s a dark side to the butterfly effect style of thinking: slippery slope alarmism. If everything we do has big consequences, we need to be careful about the way we extrapolate those consequences, especially since the future is always uncertain.

    .-= Jeffrey Tang´s last blog ..Be Gentle. =-.

    • Patrick

      @ Jeffrey: Thank you for pointing out the darks side of this technique. Indeed like everything, this could be overdone to an extent that could be called hypochondric. Maybe you should counter-balance it with the old saying “Man plans and the gods laugh” or “Life happens when you’re busy making other plans“. So true, that the future will always be uncertain. So even if we take great considerations on our plans, we will fail 99% of the time. Therefore flexibility is key here. And not being afraid to start things and accept failures as they come your way. One of my most beloved quotes therefore comes from Goethe:

      Then indecision brings its own delays,
      And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
      Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
      What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
      Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

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