I found an unexpected inspiration this morning. Wandering around my home library while shaving (as I am wont to do), I came across a small book called The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews. Curiosity led me to flip open to a random page, where I surprisingly found myself in the midst of a Civil War conversation. Intrigued, I decided to finish reading the book. I’m glad I did.
Andy Andrews has apparently made a name for himself as a speaker and inspirational writer. I had never heard of him. But he’s made the New York Times bestseller list at least twice and been invited to speak by at least four Presidents.
The Civil War conversation explored the decision by Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain to lead his handful of remaining men on a charge against Confederate forces at Gettysburg. After five assaults on their position had left him with only 80 men and no ammunition, Chamberlain chose to risk it all in an all-out counter-assault. Essentially, a bluff. Andrews argues that this one insane act changed the course of history – saved Gettysburg for the Union troops, which saved the Union, which saved America, which allowed America to grow into a world power capable of stepping in to help save the world from axis forces on two fronts during World War II.
A butterfly flaps its wings and sets in motion events that have far-reaching effects.
One man makes a decision that changes the future of the world.
Andrews provides another example tracing back in time from a scientist named Norman Borlaug to FDR’s Vice-President Henry Wallace to George Washington Carver to a farmer named Moses. And what did Moses Carver’s act result in? The saving of two billion lives from famine.
His point, of course, is that everything we do in our lives matters.