Yesterday I suggested to someone their tweet on Twitter was valuable. I said I’d like to see more of the thinking that lay behind those few words.
I gave the other person my words in a tweet - I then forgot about it. I got on with the rest of my life…
I had no idea what would happen next. Never anticipated. Didn’t think of the consequences.
You know what the person did? They went & wrote a whole blogpost. They sat down & elaborated, opened up their original thought & communicated in a whole new way.
My few careless words were like a feather that tipped the scales - thrust the other person over the parapet - and they flew into valuable reflection.
Why is this worth remarking on?
Because it happens all the time. People we meet are balanced - they are ready to move in one of two directions - forwards or backwards. Your words, your glance, your tone, your little gesture could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back - that tips the other person over the edge.
I’m not saying you’re responsible for the influence you have on another person. This is a lot more complex than simple causation. The impact of you doesn’t occur in a vacuum - the other person is ready for something. You simply are the light touch that makes the difference to all that happens next.
This is the butterfly in action - the one that’s at the heart of chaos theory.
I was thrilled the other person wrote their blogpost. Delighted they delved into the challenge of spelling out their meaning. I felt good to be associated with the result.
But it was an accident that was waiting to happen.
Isn’t life funny?