Ways to distinguish yourself #174 – Surprise someone positively (at regular intervals)

Lisa Haneberg talks about the butterfly effect in her books and talks. You can read more about Butterfly effect here.

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 nonlinear dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system.

The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.

How can we take advantage of this butterfly effect?

Simply by being those butterflies (actors) flapping our wings (making small positive contributions in the lives of other people)

For all you know, you may already be taking advantage of the butterfly effect in your own life.  Answer the following questions:

“How many people have you positively surprised in the last week?”


“How many people can you positively surprise in the next few weeks?”

There is no right or wrong answer.  Once you answer the above questions, answer this question:

“Do I have the potential and resources to positively surprise more people this year than last year?”

Most of us have the potential to positively surprise someone in our network or outside of our network at regular intervals. All it requires is “more caring” for people around us – be it someone that we know or be it strangers.  One of my teachers taught me this almost a decade ago – it has almost gone to the background of obviousness for me. Has it provided enough returns? Absolutely. Way more than you can imagine.

The roots for many interesting things that have happened in my life trace back to one or two caring gestures or acts. Yes, those acts that almost cost me nothing – all it required was caring beyond the current market standards.

Now, the question for you on this memorial day weekend:

How many people can you positively surprise this week in a memorable way?

Note 1: Here is a Squidoo lens that links to most of the previous articles in this series:
Squidoo: Distinguish Yourself

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:
ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself (PDF, Free)

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 6, 2008. This is a photographic manifesto featuring 15 of my mini sagas (stories in exactly 50 words). Here is the link:
ChangeThis Manifesto: Mini Sagas – Bite Sized Lessons for Life and Business (PDF, Free)