Large impacts

Jack Renning, Opinion Writer

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The four figures crept silently into the moonlight meadow careful to disturb as little as possible. As they stalk further forward one member makes the choice to stray off the path and step on something he shouldn’t have. The other members notice immediately and swivel around as the offender bends down and picks up the broken body of a butterfly. The other members look on in horror knowing what was about to happen. “The butterfly effect”, one whispers, “make a small change in the past and the future is changed forever”. Since that butterfly never had kids, those kids will never have kids and on and on in a cascade of changes altering the future to one much different than the one these travelers had come from. That one little choice to step off the beaten path changed these time-travelers lives forever.

This is something that is shown in countless time-travel movies where one small, seemingly insignificant change causes a cascade of other changes that irreparably changes time as we know it. Recently, I came across an idea proposed online which talked about how we always see these time travel movies with small changes in the past (like killing a butterfly) drastically changing the future, yet we never go around in our daily lives thinking about how the small choices we are making will make a big impact. This made me think about all of the little choices in my day and how they changed my future. Before long, I realized small choices make a much bigger impact than their name suggests.

The example that comes to my mind is the day in elementary school when I made the choice to sit somewhere different at lunch. It was a simple choice, but it made a big impact on my future. That day I was a bit early to lunch so there weren’t many people sitting yet. None of my friends had sat down yet, so I made the choice to sit next to a kid I had never seen before. I didn’t know it at the time, but that kid would become my best friend for a long time. I could have sat anywhere else, and him and I might have never become friends, but because of a simple choice, my future was changed many times over. This is an example of the great change that can come with the little choices we make in our everyday lives.

Some people might say small choices don’t have an impact and we’re set on the path defined by our bigger choices. The simple truth is, even those big choices are influenced by those small choices we make every day. That choice of one college over the other might depend on one passing student’s choice to smile at the touring high schooler, giving you that homey feel you were looking for. A small choice on their part, but it influenced a much greater decision later on. In the end, the small choices we make everyday are important, and while we shouldn’t spend hours agonizing over them, we should spend a bit more time thinking over whether or not that small choice is the best choice for our future, and try to avoid stepping on any butterflies.

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