Ever think about how even the smallest of actions can have significant consequences in life?
This notion of unpredicable consequences is typically known as the Butterfly Effect, which is defined as causing a non-linear impact on complex systems.
Strangers online shared their examples of the Butterfly Effect when Redditor SidneyRL asked:
"What's the craziest butterfly effect that happened to you because of a small decision you made?"
These Redditors wouldn't be here today were it not for the Butterfly Effect.
It Started With A Potty Decision
"Decided I would rather use my bathroom than a portapotty. Found my wife cheating, she attempted suicide, I moved multiple states away. In the 7 years since I have made nothing but positive changes and went from $18/hour laborer to a well respected person in my profession making 6 figures. I'd probably still be working that dead-end job."
"Aside from that, without recounting all the details; I went to see a doctor about a splinter from chopping firewood, 6 months later they removed most of my kidney with Renal Cell Carcinoma. Without the splinter I'd likely be dead from kidney cancer."
What Would've Been A Fatal Appointment Date
"I had to call my heart surgeon to give him my new insurance #s (I had only just gotten them because the person who had them had the flu and was not getting back to me) as soon as I got my numbers, I called surgeon - the receptionist said, 'oh, hey, we just had a cancelation for this Friday, do you want it?' Of course I wanted to get it over and not wait another month. decided to take the open heart surgery cancelation appointment (a month before my actual appointment), and well, surgeon said that thank goodness I did because once he got a look inside, he realized I would not have survived to the original appointment date."
"So, if the insurance lady didn't have the flu, I would have gotten those numbers a lot sooner, and never gotten the offer to have the surgery when I did."
"Someone else's flu saved my life."
Broken Guitar Strings
"So a few years back, I lived in Nice (South of France) for a while. As a musician I would make a bit of extra cash busking, and one day, I figured I'd go and busk at the promenade 'd'anglais by the sea. It's usually packed, and it just a generally pleasant place to be. I set up, played a couple of songs and was doing pretty well and making a decent amount of money. Then suddenly not one, but two of my guitar strings snapped (I even remember I was playing 'The Scientist' at the time)."
"I was massively gutted and decided to cut my losses early. I stormed off home (by the station) in a bit of a sulk at having to re-string my guitar and cutting short what was essentially one of my most productive days of busking since moving there. Literally one hour later, my phone starts to blow the f**k up with family and friends freaking out and asking if I was at the promenade."
"It was Bastille Day, 2016. The truck drove into the same crowd I was playing to, killing 86 people, including my at-the-time gf's uncle. I had two other friends who were amongst the 458 injured. I moved home the next month because it was too much, and haven't been back since."
"It's hard to explain, sometimes I think I was super lucky, sometimes I just kind of cry and wonder why I was lucky and others weren't. It's surreal, and despite what people think... it's a truly horrible feeling."
"Edit: I'm overwhelmed by the support of people. I will be getting therapy and hopefully in time I'll be able to return to Nice as it was one of my favourite places on earth. Take care of yourselves and if you've been through something similar, it looks like help is out there. Thank you all"
"I spilled my coffee. I work in a bank and you learn never to do that, all the papers and files. You also learn to place it far enough away so it doesn't fill out anything if it does spill. I worked in finance for many years. It was 8: 43 in the morning and I figured I had enough time to get downstairs and get another cup and come back up before 9:00. So I went to the elevator bank. Waited for the elevator to come, It took a long time. Got in the elevator went down to the ground floor. I had my hand on the door leading outside to Liberty Street just as the first plane hit the first World Trade Center building on 9/11."
Love found a way thanks to these inconsequential circumstances.
Endings And New Beginnings
"Made a last minute decision to go to a friend's divorce party and met my wife."
"I decided to invite my chem lab partner to lunch on the first day of college, just to be friendly and try to make more than 1 friend at school. We met up with the only other friend I'd made at school so far. He thought my lab partner was cute, invited himself to hang out with her, and then fell in love with her roommate instead. He ended up married to the roommate - they've been together for 22 years and have 2 children."
"In high school I took an intermediate biology course. I had never done biology before but was good at science generally so I thought the intermediate course would be a good fit."
"My science teacher of a couple year previous happened to walk into my class to talk to the biology teacher and she spotted me in the class."
"She asked me what grades I had got the previous year. I told her and she nodded and left. A minute later she came back in and asked me to gather my belongings and leave the class. I was pretty sure I was in trouble for something I couldn’t recall."
"She led me to another classroom and sat me down on an empty chair. Then she just started teaching. Turns out that she was running the advanced class that year and just decided to steal me as a student."
"I went on the take biology at undergrad level, and then a masters. I ended up doing a PhD in immunology and now work as an advisor for Pharma companies."
"It gets better though. I decided I wanted to do my masters in London, and met a girl on the way. We are now 10 years in and own a house together."
"All that because that teacher happened to look in my direction."
The Ultimate Prize
"Watched ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ and got so annoyed at the candidates not knowing a simple question about Katy Perry, that I applied. Got in. Got to play. Won a lot of money. Booked a holiday to a dream destination with that money. Met my husband there. We now have a 1 year old son :)"
You never truly know what's around the corner. Like, a family member you never knew existed.
"I had to renew the sticker on my license plate a couple of years ago and really didn't feel like sitting in the waiting room by myself forever so I told my mom I'd take her out to dinner after if she came with me.. The guy working at the counter turned out to be my moms long lost biological brother. If she hadn't come with me I would have never known."
"My husband- He found out after 18 years that his moms side of the family was Spanish, not Mexican. He found this interesting and changed his country to 'Spain' on MySpace instead the US where he really was. Meanwhile in Australia, I was helping my friend find Spanish people to add as a friend as she was learning the language. I came across my now husband and decided to send him a friend request as well. We got along really well and met in person after 3 years. Have been together 11 years, married for 7. If he didn’t change his country to Spain (and only for a day or so) we’d never know each other existed."
Influential Reading Choice
"When I was in 8th grade (13 years old) I had a really long bus ride home so would pass the time by reading. One day I faced the very serious situation of nothing to read and a minute to grab something in the library, and for whatever reason I grabbed a book on astronomy. That book was amazing and grabbed me like nothing else had before. I remember being excited to realize every astronomer on Earth was 13 years old once too, and that was a career you could actually do, even if you were from Pittsburgh."
"Anyway, today I am a professional astronomer who studies gigantic space explosions for a living. There was a lot of work to get from that moment to this one, but I’m always grateful that I picked up that library book!"
When the smallest of changes lead to unpredictable and major consequences in life, it makes one wonder if there are such things as trivial acts.
The world just got more confusing.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
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