The Butterfly Effect is a hypothesis presented to the New York Academy of Science in 1963 by Edward Lorenz. His theory simply stated is; A butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air—eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet. He was laughed out of the conference. What he had proposed was ridiculous. But his idea fascinated some scientists. Over forty years later scientists concluded the Butterfly Effect is real.
This doesn’t mean a butterfly can actually cause a hurricane. It means small changes in initial conditions can create big changes over time. It’s called the Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions. It was first shown scientifically in weather modeling. Rounding off just one of 12 variables created a drastic change in the result. Lorenz said, “Complex dynamical systems exhibit unpredictable behaviors.” (like weather) “Small variances in the initial conditions could have profound and widely divergent effects on the system’s outcomes. Outcomes are unpredictable.” People are especially unpredictable.
On Valentine’s Day this week, after getting back from dinner, Lynnda and I took our wine and went outside to our gas fire pit. We just talked. It’s special to spend one on one time together. No distractions from TV, phone or internet. We don’t just do this on Valentine’s Day. Thinking back, it was magical how we came together. We make thousands of decisions over the course of our lives. Some decisions are major like where we attend college, what career or job we choose, where we choose to live and who we choose to marry. We expect these decisions to be life changing maybe even predictable.
What about Butterfly Effect decisions? Those small unpredictable “insignificant” decisions. Like the Friday night in small town Albion, Michigan when I decided which bar to go to. Harry was there. I don’t remember how we met. Maybe a mutual friend introduced us. Harry and I became friends. A few months later Harry was renting a house in the country north of town. He needed a couple of roommates to help pay the rent and utilities. Harry asked if I wanted to move. I had a small simple apartment. Nothing to worry about except paying my rent. I was comfortable. Deciding to take a risk, I moved in with Harry. John, one of my friends from work joined us.
It was a good decision. Lynnda lived next door. She looked good. I found a unique way to meet her by cutting her grass when I cut ours. I asked her out. The rest is history. Harry was my best man. Lynnda and I have been married 47 years. It took a lot of thin threads to get us together. I chose the Michigan job over one in Arizona. That was a big decision. My choice of bars on a Friday night, was an insignificant (Butterfly Effect) decision connecting me to Harry and ultimately connecting me to Lynnda. If Lynnda or I had made just one different decision we may have never met. One Butterfly Effect decision changed a lot of lives especially for our three children, eight grandchildren and all of the lives they have impacted.
You matter and so does everything you do. You decide. What we do impacts people and our planet in a positive or negative way. We impact current and future generations. BJ was our senior captain in 1999. When I asked, “What’s your dream? Where do you want to be at the end of the season?” BJ had the courage to dream higher than we did as coaches. He wanted to play for the State Championship. We did play for the State Championship. It changed the belief of what we thought was possible forever. After 7 State Championships and many successful doctors, lawyers, engineers, business owners and parents a lot of lives have been and are being changed in a positive way. All because young men know the power of a dream. It started with BJ’s Butterfly Effect dream.
In 2017 Shale Crescent USA made a major decision to spend a lot of money to attend the World Petrochemical Conference in Houston, TX. Our only lead came on the last day from a chance meeting on an elevator between floors 26 and 2. That Butterfly Effect elevator meeting six years ago lead to several studies leading to contacts who have created good jobs in the Shale Crescent USA states by coming or expanding. Jobs for vendors, contractors and other businesses like restaurants and retail stores where employees spend money are created. This is a start. More jobs are coming. The lives of workers’ children and grandchildren will be positively affected. Will hope in a positive future keep kids off drugs like it did my technical college students?
Tons of plastic waste are being taken out of the environment every day by CRDC, a company SCUSA helped in Pennsylvania. Other projects are reducing global emissions by using natural gas and raw materials from our region to manufacture products here and sell them here instead of importing them. This eliminates over 20,000 miles of transportation emissions and emissions from coal fired electricity overseas. The Shale Crescent Butterfly Effect elevator meeting in 2017 is helping to create a hurricane of jobs and a cleaner world.
We are all connected. We live on the same planet. What happens in Asia or Europe impacts us in the USA. Each of us is important. What we do matters not just to us but to everyone. Our small seemingly insignificant Butterfly Decisions can have big results. We must do our best to make those impacts on people and the planet positive. Start with a positive attitude. A smile and a sincere friendly “Hello” to everyone, especially those we love can change the world.
Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.