Butterfly Actual

The butterfly effect is a termed coined by Edward Lorenz. He was working on some weather models as he was trying to help the world get better at predicting weather patterns (something we would all appreciate.)

He was running a model he had run before but wanted to run it again from the middle of the model as computing power in 1961 was a tad bit slower than it is now. In order to run the model from the middle, he input the data from the previous model’s sheet he had from the previous run through and hit go. He let the machine do the work it needed and probably went to go get some coffee or take a smoke break. Meanwhile, the computer ran the model and spit out the data.

When he returned to the data, it was drastically different from what it was on the previous run through.

The new data was practically based on a completely different set of data points. He assessed and reassessed the data looking for a bug or an error and found one. Edward input one of his data points as ‘.506’ rather than the original data point of ‘.506127’. Quite literally, he rounded. He rounded off three points of data that were completely useless in his mind.

Unfortunately for him, those three points of data created a whole new weather system.
Hence, he revealed his findings to the scientific community. He traveled and spoke on his findings. He began calling it the butterfly effect because you never would have thought something so small like positions 4, 5, and 6 of a decimal point could cause such a huge difference in outcome. He compared it to a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a tornado or a hurricane. In his mind, the significance of those three decimal points were as significant as a butterfly’s wings and he never could have predicted their importance.

He never could have predicted the importance of something so small.

In Lorenz’s mind, the butterfly effect was about how the seemingly mundane results unpredictably in the monolithic.

I never know what detail I might change and what effect it might actually have in my life. I must give even the smallest details significance as they play a part of the whole.

What details do you need to give more significance as they play a part of the whole of your life?