Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ever heard the story...

Welcome to The Butterfly Principle blog! Do you know that by understanding and applying "the butterfly principle," your life changes tremendously? Your dreams become realities, your hopes increase, your relationships improve.

Each new post appears below this brief introduction:

Ever heard the story behind the phrase "the Butterfly Principle"? Originally the term was the "the butterfly effect," but the significance caused much attention and the phrase morphed into the Butterfly Principle.

A bit of history and why it matters to us. As with many things, this concept started with a science fiction short story written by Ray Bradbury. His creativity in this story spoke of a corporate guy being offered an adventure beyond comprehension: travel back in time to hunt dinosaurs. The only caveat was that in the time travel trip, he must stay on a specific "sidewalk" so that he would not leave a trace. In the hunt, they could only kill animals that were in the process of dying already.

The fictional company responsible for these trips, Time Safari, thought they had ensured all safety measures. But Eckels (the corporate schmuck) couldn't handle the pressure. In the face of an honest-to-goodness Allosaurus, Eckels flees Time Safari's carefully conscripted path. By leaving the path, Eckels unknowingly crushes a butterfly in the mud. That one little butterfly, it turns out, made all the difference!

This one event, discovered upon Eckels return, creates havoc of all global kinds. The English language now is twisted into different letters, fascists are now in control (good-bye to freedom), and all kinds of architecture had changed. The entire premise of the short story was that seemingly insignificant choices cause changes which lead to significant outcomes.

Well, why not put this premise to work for us? After all, research is beginning to show that the small things in life can sometimes have the greatest impact. Think about it. On a long hard day, a perfect stranger smiles and opens the door for you. Another person pays your toll on a whim. Or you decide to get extra sleep one night, which makes a complete difference on your response to your boss the next day in a heated meeting.

The purpose of this blog is to explore the Butterfly Principle (based on chaos theory or, as states, "sensitive dependence upon initial conditions"). We're not going to discuss this principle in just generic terms, but in ways that make sense to you. Because why not put the Butterfly Principle to work for you? Why not make your dreams in the future a reality, simply because of small principles you're putting to work for you today!

Here are some fun links to hear various voices speaking on their understanding of the Butterfly Principle (and how it applies to emotional resiliency):

Bob Hyman
Resiliancy as a Butterfly Principle
Butterfly of Life (cancer survivors' take on butterflies)
West Indian community

Make sure you subscribe to the blog so you can check out the (nearly) daily postings for fun and free tips to help you meet, reach and perhaps surpass your awesome dreams!

(The beautiful butterfly picture is from an adorable site for kids: Insect Lore. Check out their fun learning games and store.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Straight Edge

Ever look at a ruler or a yardstick recently? If you don't have one, here is a link to a ruler.

Notice the direct and straight line from one end of the ruler to the other? Imagine the left end symbolizes today's date (point A) and the right end symbolizes the completion of your most daring dream (point B). So here's the question. How long would it take you to get from point A to point B in your life if you kept to the straight edge?

We're not referencing moral choices (although those are important). No, what we're exploring is the following concept:

The fastest path to completion is daily "goal focus."

In other words, how often do you keep your goal (point B) in mind? Because if you're not thinking on it daily, you are more likely to stray from the straight edge of the direct line. And we all know that in general physics, the shortest path between two points is a straight line. Deviating interrupts your progress.

So today's assignment is to do the following. It couldn't be easier:

1. Get a ruler or other straight edge.
2. Get your Reality notebook you are creating.
3. Within your book, draw a straight line at least eight inches long.
4. Label the left end "point A" and write today's date.
5. Label the right end "point B" and write the future date of your completed dream.

Do NOT write anything yet in between those two points. We will be working on that in future simple assignments. But for the time being, simply ponder on the concept of a straight edge and how following it will lead you far more efficiently to your desired goal. In fact, if you like, remove your new "ruler" page from your notebook and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dealing with Disappointment

Yesterday I took my son to the zoo. After spending what felt like an exciting two hours walking around looking at penguins and lions and tigers and birds, he had a sad expression on his face. When I asked him what was wrong, his lip trembled and he said, "Daddy wasn't here."

Isn't it funny how we can nearly achieve our dream, but when the people that matter most aren't involved the dream loses its savor?

Tomorrow we're going to work on our Reality Pages (see previous post "Discipline is a Muscle" to learn how to make a Reality Page). But for now, take a moment to think on who matters most to you in your life.

Done thinking? Excellent. Because today is the day you need to acquire a journal to start your journey toward fulfilling your dream. I mean it; find a journal or notebook with which to begin recording these early important steps. And one of the most important steps you will take is to recognize the people who matter most to you. For what good is accomplishing worthwhile and daring dreams if you don't have loved ones to share those moments with?

So your step for today is to get a Reality journal. It can be any color, any size, any shape. The important part is that it is a journal to record your ever-growing record of dreams morphing into realities.

Once you have your Reality Journal in hand, complete these two easy steps ... today!

  1. Make a label for the outside that reads "Reality Journal." Make it spartan or make it decorative ... your choice. But make it and glue it to the front. This is your first step to claiming your current dreams as your future realities. Congratulations!
  2. Your second step is to date your first page with today's date and write down the names of the people who matter most to you. Why accomplish dreams and goals and aspirations if there aren't people there to celebrate with you?
There. That was easy, wasn't it! Congratulations on the follow-through. The pathway to fulfillment of dreams is actually more simple than most suppose; it just requires small steps and consistent movement. And joining us here at The Butterfly Principle was a good choice. We'll help you step by step move closer to living the life you choose and celebrating it with the people you love. That way you won't be like my small son at the zoo, seeing all the penguins and lions and tigers and birds ... but without his Daddy present.

Check back soon for more steps toward morphing your dreams into realities!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Energy in some respects is a limitless quality - referring to nature and physics and all that. But within us mortals, it comes in an ebb and flow kind of thing. Here at the Butterfly Principle, we are studying the topic of resiliency during the month of October. And within that topic of resiliency, health plays a very large part!

Health is a bridge to where we want to go. You know the saying, "If you ain't got your health, ya ain't got nothin'." While a bit colloquial, that statement contains a truth that we would do well to focus on. Ever had the flu? Where you couldn't get out of bed for days? Yep, that kind? Everything else in life had to wait - goals, life's dreams, even work - while you recovered. And it was a miserable experience, wasn't it? (I hate the flu.)

It is very difficult for you to obtain your daring dreams - creating them, pulling them into reality - if you are sick. When a body falls ill, it begins to muster all its reserves to fighting illness. We don't want to be sick if we're about the business of building a life full of joyful realities, bridging our todays to tomorrow's "dreams made real"! Along these lines, I have found an amazing book that you simply must read! In fact, it is so good I'd recommend getting your own copy.

It is called AntiCancer: A New Way of Life and it is written by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. Being autobiographical, one would think it would be a bit stilted and dry. But it's not. It reads like a novel, in that kind of can't-put-it-down sort of way. Dr. Servan-Schreiber describes his journey through cancer's claws. He shares what he discovered on a personal "bridge" towards emotional resiliency and a fuller life as he learned how to survive encounters with his cancer.

I've read elsewhere that statistical predictions indicate 1 out of 2 people now will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life. Yet this would not be the only reason to read AntiCancer (although that would be an excellent one). I recommend this book because Dr. Servan-Schreiber provides an excellent window into understanding resiliency and the importance resiliency plays in achieving a life you want to live.

AntiCancer: A New Way of Life is a book for those who desire to become truly in charge of their "destiny." This book applies to any person who is facing any kind of setback in life. From my perspective, Dr. Servan-Schreiber speaks to real ways to find joy, starting first with correcting life's issues through emotional resiliency and healthy lifestyles.

AntiCancer is such a joyful read that I am finding it hard to put down (not bad for a non-fiction story!). But beyond that, it contains such jewels as when he first discovered joy outside of himself (see p. 22-23 under the heading "Vulnerability"): a point that is essential for anyone who wants to bring their daring dreams closer into reality, as we simply must be mindful of those around us to experience the joy we want to receive.

Dr. Servan-Schreiber's experiences are some of the most riveting I've read in a long time. If you are serious about muscling the tool of resiliency into full use in your own life, you simply must read AntiCancer: A New Way of Life. I believe it will change your life as it is changing mine.

And as a side perk to understanding true resiliency (our study for the month), who doesn't want to get or to be healthy? Health is a necessary bridge to achieving life's goals. Dr. Servan-Schriber's book AntiCancer contains health truisms that most, if not all, people should read, understand, and acquire to get to where they want to be.

[Here is a link to watch a conversation with Dr. Servan-Schreiber. It is a beautiful experience to hear him talk so sincerely about his experience and to share his medical knowledge about health, life, and fuller living.]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Discipline is a Muscle

Have you thought about what the personality trait discipline does for you? For example, it helps you get up on days you don't want to. As a result, by the end of the day you have accomplished meals for your family, brought in a paycheck by working for your employer, tidied up your living space to make your home hours more pleasant. All because of discipline. Discipline is the glue in many respects that holds a successful life together.

Or to put it another way, discipline is like a muscle that brings one limb toward another limb. The more you exercise your body, the more efficient movement becomes for you, the better your health, and the leaner your physique.

But discipline requires exertion. The good news is the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Your dreams require discipline. Just as a muscle can contract and bring your hand toward you, your personality muscle of discipline can bring your daring dreams toward you. It's not that hard; it just requires exertion and practice. Follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Sit down today and write out what your dreams really are.
  2. Pick the most daring one. Write that one on a new piece of paper.
  3. Remember the chicken pox as a kid? When you were covered with pox all over? Well, you're going to "pox" your dream page and turn it into a Reality Page. Set a kitchen timer to 5 minutes and press start. Starting poxing the page by writing down all the activities that lead up to your daring dream. Allow crazy creativity to take over by completely ignoring any order to this activity.
  4. Keep writing until 5 minutes is up, even if you continue to write the same thing over and over again until new ideas for "pox" show up. The idea is to keep your pen moving for 5 minutes recording any and all of the different activities successful people would do to achieve this one dream.
  5. When finished, sit back and enjoy the brilliance of your activity. You have made possible the first step towards success for your dream - you got physical with the reality of dreaming.
Do not touch your Reality Page just yet. We'll do more exploring with it in the future. For now just know that you exercised your discipline muscle during this small activity. Wasn't that easy?

Bringing your dream closer to you until it touches your life in physical ways is no more complicated than bringing your hand literally to your face. It just requires small actions in very real, physical ways. We will be exploring these literal ways through the blog, so make sure to check back often. A helpful tip: subscribe to the blog so you can check out the (nearly) daily postings for fun and free tips to help you meet, reach and perhaps even surpass your awesome dreams!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Impact of Resiliency

Here's a short but potent tip if you desire to achieve your daring dreams:

Study the significance of emotional resiliency. People who are resilient resist failure and are able to put setbacks into perspective. They usually are quite good at separating disappointment from their own personal value. If you want to achieve your significant dreams, an understanding of personal resiliency will help you go much farther down life's road...finally to arrive at your definition of achievement.

All human beings will experience setbacks. Most will keep trying after one or two upsets. The successful, though, just won't quit until they cross the "finish line." Guess what the successful own as one of their emotional tools?

That's right. The gift of emotional resiliency.

Get started today studying the impact and significance of resiliency, because that which we think about we gravitate towards. There are many books you could choose from to better understand the impact of resiliency (or lack thereof). And while some books appear geared towards the youngest among us, they teach true principles that we all can apply internally. In fact, some of these books for youth make the subject the most clear!

I did a quick search on for a sample listing, which I've listed below. And I bet your local library will have some great offerings on the topic of resiliency!

The theme for October's study here at The Butterfly Principle will be emotional resiliency. Pick your reading selections and read them for fun from October 1-31st, and then come back to share any comments you desire about what you've learned during the process! Your perspectives are important and I'd love to learn your ideas and how resiliency has helped you overcome great difficulties.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Do You Live?

Where we live has impact on our daily choices. Think about it. For example, when I was in NYC (a place my cousin loves and where he chooses to live) I was astonished at how few children I saw in downtown Manhattan. I'm sure this cultural nuance is understood by the natives, but it was very different than what I've seen in other regions of the U.S.

To fulfill your daring dream (to use John C. Maxwell's excellent phrase - found on page 17 in his book, Dare to Dream), you really must look at where you live. The components of life in your home town (or city) really do impact your daily living. If you struggle to make your dream come into view, one thing you must look at is the makeup of your home town. If it is not aiding what you feel you were put on this earth for, start making plans to be open to possible change. Change is good when you're changing for powerful living. (If you can figure out how this is just like the butterfly, write and let me know!).

For example, my gifted cousin is a screenwriter. He lives in NYC and loves the experience, because it puts him where his work is needed. He loves the vibrancy of the city and feels the heartbeat of that fascinating place. But what if his dream were to open a small bookshop in the heart of Americana somewhere in the west? NYC would squelch the pulse of that particular dream into a weakened stream of focus.

Here is a list of cities you may want to consider for your next "butterfly" power move.