Reddit Users Reveal How the Small Decisions They Made Resulted in Some Pretty Epic Butterfly Effects

year ago

The butterfly effect is a term meaning that small actions in one sphere can lead to much bigger consequences in the same or another sphere. For example, a tiny tornado formed by small perturbations in one place can lead to a huge storm in another one. Butterfly effects take place in our lives as well — changing a light bulb can result in marrying someone, getting a kitten can lead to getting a dream job.

After reading the stories from other people, we at Bright Side also realized that there are many butterfly effects that have taken place in our lives — even creating this article is the result of a small decision that the author made at the age of 8. Let’s look at what little decisions can lead to in the 14 stories people shared.

  • I had to call my heart surgeon to give him my new insurance information (I had only just gotten it because the person who had it had the flu and was not getting back to me). As soon as I got my numbers, I called the 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 with and not wait another month so I decided to take the open heart surgery cancellation appointment (a month before my actual appointment), and well, the 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, someone else’s flu saved my life. © mye**s***big / reddit
Sharon McCutcheon / unsplash
  • 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. © KartoffelSucukPie / reddit
  • 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 mom’s lost biological brother. If she hadn’t come with me I would have never known. © Mutchie / reddit
  • When my dad was about 20, he needed a phone number so he called the operator from a payphone, she gave him the number, he hung up, and she accidentally refunded the money back to the payphone. She called the payphone back and asked him if he could put the money back in, which he did and hung up again. She accidentally refunded the money again and had to call back again to ask him to put the money back in. He did and hung up again. She was so flustered, she refunded the money again and called back again, and my father got to chatting with her and got her number. They set up a date (which she stood him up for). Then she forgot his name when he called her again. Then they actually got coffee and 4 years later were married. This coming August it’ll be 50 years for them. © A911owner / reddit
  • 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 one 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. © secondary_walrus / reddit
  • 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 of years 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 gotten 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. 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 an undergrad level, and then a master’s. I ended up doing a Ph.D. in immunology and now work as an advisor for Pharma companies. All that because that teacher happened to look in my direction. © MindOverEmotion / reddit

  • My husband found out after 18 years that his mom’s side of the family was Spanish, not Mexican. He found this interesting and changed his country to “Spain” on MySpace instead of 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. We have been together for 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. © Naganofagano / reddit
  • When I was in 8th grade (13 years old) I had a really long bus ride home. So I would pass the time by reading. One day I faced the very serious situation of having 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. © Andromeda321 / reddit

  • Made a last-minute decision to go to a friend’s divorce party and met my wife. © groundedcloudhead / reddit
  • Under pressure from my sister (“You’re young! You need to have fun!”), I went out to a concert and then to a bar afterward. Had this girl I barely knew *wingwoman* me to a cute guy playing pool, next thing you know I’m celebrating my 3-year wedding anniversary. © Damneds_Pleasure / reddit

  • About 10 years ago, There were no PC games to play so I tried using Windows XP’s movie maker out of boredom. I didn’t know that I was going to enjoy it and take it seriously. Now, I’m currently working on a tv/film production as a video editor. © SidneyRL / reddit

  • I was out of university, looking for a job, and exhausting all the online resources. On a whim, I looked in the career section in a print newspaper that was lying around in the house. We never subscribed to that paper, I don’t know why it was even there. Got the job in a different city, met someone who is now one of my best friends, who introduced me to their friends, who introduced me to their friends, and so on until I was eventually introduced to my wife. If I’d found a job where I actually planned on working, there is absolutely no way I would have crossed paths with any of these people. © the5thbeagle / reddit

  • The older I get, the more I am constantly cognizant of the vast cascade of seemingly insignificant decisions and actions that led me to where I am. For example, a decision 25 years ago to change a refrigerator light bulb before going out resulted in my being at the “wrong place at the wrong time” so I got mugged, which resulted in my decision to move out of the city I had been living in, which resulted in my meeting my wife, and from there to have all my kids. I would have had a whole different life had I not changed that lightbulb that afternoon, but the path to the present leads through that (and a thousand other) similarly trivial decisions...© BrStFr / reddit

  • My parents’ dream was to have a “famous child.” There was a lot of pressure, and while I was successful at school and classical music, it was never enough. At 17, before my senior year began, my sister gave me a kitten. My parents had given her 2 during her senior year and the implication was that it was my turn. When my sister dropped me off, my parents locked me out, saying that if I wanted my own pet I needed my own place. 3 years later, I enrolled in college and became an industrial mechanic/millwright, to my parents’ great shame. After a few years of this, I landed a sweet contract where I work on Saturdays and Sundays but receive a full week’s pay. Being kicked out over a kitten saved me from wasting years chasing an improbable career just to please my parents. © induceddaftfan / reddit

What butterfly effects have taken place in your life? Please tell us about them in the comments!

Preview photo credit induceddaftfan / reddit


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My teacher encouraged me to enter a story-writing competition, there was a cash prize, but I ended up winning and getting it published. Well, a couple of months later, I got a Facebook message from a guy who wanted to know more about my story because she had to analyze it for her upcoming exam. We are very good friends ever since


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