Realize: You Are Not as Small as You Think You Are
We are so excited to have our guest blogger DeAnna Murphy – Author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living (http://amzn.to/2EK9jwI) visist us on our blog today. She is sharing an excerpt of her next book with us here. Thank you DeAnna!
I have a huge “what-if” for you. Just imagine that you have say, 2.5 million friends – roughly the population of Chicago – and all of you get together at the same time to play a game of dice – and by the way, you do so with a dice that has a trillion sides. Seem crazy? Well, it gets even crazier, given that the outcome of this experience is that each of your 2.5 million friends all roll the dice and come up with the exact same number at the exact same time. It you concluded that this is highly improbable, you would be quite right. The probability of this happening is greater than the estimated number of total atoms in the entire universe, somewhere around 1078 or in other words, ten-quadrillion-vigintillion! Assuming, of course, only the known universe, which means the number is higher in reality.
Obviously, this scenario and outcome is so unrealistic that if this were to happen you might even call it a miracle. What you may not realize, however, is that these are nearly the very same odds of you ever being conceived and born with the exact genetic make-up, talents and characteristic that you were born with, given the parents, grandparents, and forefathers you have. In other words, if you ignore the extreme [un]likelihood of your parents and ancestors (with their precise genetic make-up) first meeting and then eventually reproducing, the chances of your being biologically conceived as the “you” that you are today is about one in 102,685,000. These odds are even more impossible than the likelihood that you and your 2.5 million friends will all roll the same number at the same time on a dice with ten thousand sides! You truly are a miracle.
The truth is, regardless of what you do for living, how you think about your value, capability or potential, or what situation you were born into you are something akin to a miracle. Scientifically, you can’t not matter – and there are three additional mathematical explanations about why.
Your Immediate Circle of Influence. First, you may not realize how far-reaching your impact can be, whether you are purposefully trying to make a difference or not. Interestingly, a statistician, Tian Zheng, from Columbia University got a little curious about this very question and mathematically determined that the average person’s social network includes six hundred people. These are the people you know and who know you. His calculations further determined that your six hundred people also know six hundred people, meaning that just your second-generation impact reaches over 360,000 people. The third-generation impact would take you quickly into the hundreds of millions, and this influence happens more often than you might think. Did you ever consider that your life might touch that many people?
Ripple Effects of Your Life. If these numbers surprise you a little, then this next one is also sure to. In addition to the present six hundred people in your immediate circle, you can add an additional 80,000 to it. This is the approximate number of people who will cross your path during your life for some period of time depending, of course on how long you live. This is a sizable number to add to your potential impact equation and does not even consider the second or third-generation impact of these 80,000 people. However, let’s imagine that you do consider a second-generation impact for only half of those 80,000 people, who then differently impact just their present 600 people because of their experience with you. This would mean that your circle of influence potentially includes nearly 24 million people! If you use the same assumptions to guesstimate your third-generation impact, it would mean that your circle of influence mathematically has the potential of reaching 7.2 billion people! By the way, that is about the present population of the world. Seem unrealistic? Maybe not quite as much as you think. Even if only 10% of scientists’ calculations play out, your impact can change the world.
Still think your being here doesn’t make a difference? Nothing could be further from the truth!
You Can Create Powerful Positive Contagion. This leads us to the third and final objective reason for your mattering. You might be a little surprised to know that positive emotions have been demonstrated through objective research to be more contagious than negative ones. And although bad behaviors are contagious, it might interest you to know that good behaviors are even more so and can spread like wild fire, particularly in this zero-geography Information Era. In fact, according to French neurologists your positive interactions with others, even from something as simple as smiling or sending positive uplifting messages on social media, have the power to shift the entire brain state of other people around you. So much so that it is as though you had just offered $25,000 in cash or the emotional-high-equivalent of consuming forty bars of excellent quality dark chocolate. Amazing, isn’t it?
The phenomenon we have been describing in all these examples has a scientific name, by the way – although it doesn’t sound very scientific. It’s called the “Butterfly Effect.” Have you ever heard of it? It is a term coined by Professor Edward Lorenz based on an interesting experience he had as he was re-running weather simulations and trying to predict outcomes.
You likely wouldn’t think much about rounding a number like 0.506127 to 0.506. Not a big deal, right? Well, as it turns out it was a huge deal. In fact, it messed up his weather forecast model for the next two months in a way that seemed to him to create utter chaos out of his predictions. He then concluded something you have already discovered: everything in our world is interdependently connected, and a small change in one part can have far-reaching impacts. This idea became known as The Butterfly Effect, to suggest that something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings (or an erroneously rounded decimal) can significantly alter something as big as the world’s weather (or a two-month weather prediction pattern). It could also be used to describe what happens when someone like you decides that their life really does matter and that they need to use it to make the difference only they can make.
An Excerpt from the book, People Acuity: Revolutionizing Results and Relationships