The Ripple Effect

When we’re living our day to day life, it’s hard to imagine that something half way around the world could affect us. So, don’t. Don’t imagine it.

I mean. It’s absolutely true. But it’s hard to grasp, isn’t it? You can’t quite reconcile the fact that the metaphorical flap of the butterfly’s wing in one distant land could set off chaos in another. Because that’s hard. How could a decision made miles and miles away affect your life in this very second? You can’t really see that, can’t really touch it. It’s such a massive thought that it barely has borders or parameters.

So, let’s try to forget that concept for a moment. Rather, let’s try to imagine that something very close to you in your life changes. A loss of a friend. The death of a loved one. A new job. A college degree. These things we feel acutely, and with good reason. We’ve played some part in their happenings. We are somewhat responsible for what occurs as a result of them.

Now, consider the possibility of someone close to you doing something, that has absolutely nothing to do with you, with their own lives. An action that you cannot control and has everything to do with what they’re doing. Yet, it, somehow, still travels back to you. Still finds you.

This is called the ripple effect. Or at least, I call it that. For obvious reasons. A rock hitting the surface of a still pond or lake only touches the water where it falls. However, it sends energy to places that it never even touched in the form of ripples. But they do not extend completely across the entire body of water. It is, after all, a single rock.

Every decision you’ve ever made is like that. From deciding what to order at a restaurant to deciding which college you will attend in the fall. You’ve affected someone with your choices, whether you’ve known it or not. Whether you will ever know it or not.

Of course, I’m not trying to tell you this so that you become even more paranoid about the outcomes of your decisions. I’m not trying to strike fear into your heart at the thought of potentially ruining someone’s future because you ordered the salmon instead of the steak.

I’m simply trying to help you become more aware of the good and the bad repercussions of everything so that you won’t be paralyzed by what you decide. The reality is that you could actually inspire someone with the changes that you’re struggling with today. And you could actually come to appreciate a lapse in good judgment as the years tick forward.

Life is, and always will be, rather funny that way. But enjoy it all, every moment. You may not know which moment will count to you or to someone else. You may not ever know the depth of your ripples.