The butterfly effect

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The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.

As a psychologist, I believe in the butterfly effect. What if everyone did one kind act every week? How many would be affected and inspired to do kind things to others? Could it change the world? If you find this interesting, feel free to read about my kindness project. I have interviewed people about kind things they do, and hope this might inspire others to do the same. More can be read on my kindness blog: Kindness to a stranger


Project kindness to a stranger

To introduce the idea, I will ask everyone to watch this short movie first. Even if it takes 18 minutes, and afterwards you will feel good.

We go about our everyday lives wanting things to always be getting better. We hope that our work can make a difference. We also hope our children will have a good future. As anyone knows who has heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech—delivered fifty years ago this August~ dreams are at the center of any effort to make things better. And today we have something with more power than we might realize: The internet.

It’s not without reason that China and North-Korea tried to keep their inhabitants away from news. The media also have immense power, and even if some might argue that they focus on the wrong things, a lot of journalist really want to make the world a better place. Combine good journalists, the internet and kindness, and you have a wonderful recipe: People who actually do something.

So, by now you might be thinking: Yeah, sure, but what can I DO?

If you have watched the movie, you have seen the immense effect some words can have. When we have the possibility to help, by little effort, we do it. For example, most people help the world by sorting our paper, so that we can preserve the rainforest. So, what about potentially making somebody happy by smiling a little?

trueResearch shows that our mirror-neurons respond automatically by creating a smile on your own lips. This means that smiling AT someone, actually MAKE both parties happier. Research also shows that taking care of our own needs, makes it more likely that we can be there for others. So, like in the video, I would challenge the readers of this blog to do JUST one nice thing for somebody else (preferably a stranger, because that would have the biggest impact) the next week.

When you have done that, write WHAT you did, and if you want, leave your email at the end. This will be like signing a petition for releasing prisoners. Your contribution might become the new butterfly effect.


2013 My 100 Day Challenge (

(never stop dreaming!)

Validation: You can change things (

A women who writes brilliantly about how to think for yourself and fight for what others say is “naive”:

Enter now for the 2014 Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Awards!

Facebook: Pay it forward group. Meet and connect with others!

6 thoughts on “The butterfly effect

    Andy said:
    October 28, 2014 at 19:04

    While working in my yard, I occasionally blow off the neighbors driveway. Later, shoot him a smile and tell him to keep up the good work. I work in a hospital environment and as most, very busy. So, to a stranger, I simply step aside, smile and ask how I can help.

      mirrorgirl responded:
      October 29, 2014 at 13:33

      That is really nice of you! I hope there are many people like you out there 😀

    Andy said:
    October 29, 2014 at 16:49

    Thank you. I think there are much more in this world who do this and even more. Perhaps, we simply tend to overlook because of the obvious negative aspects of our life and environs.

      mirrorgirl responded:
      October 30, 2014 at 11:16

      Yes, you might be right there. We easily forget our own attitudes too, when life gets too busy!

    Andy said:
    October 31, 2014 at 16:29

    It’s Share with a good person day.

    The sound of brains singing in tune | Mirrorgirl said:
    January 16, 2015 at 00:35

    […] the world.  I would ask everyone I knew to do one random act of kindness every week. I believe in the butterfly effect, that states that all we do, has an effect on something else. Like ripples in a pond, kind acts […]

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