An Example of Self-Amplification: How to Use the Butterfly Effect to Your Advantage
I would like to share with you an example close to my heart of self-amplification, one of the gifts of chaos, better known as the butterfly effect: how to use the butterfly effect to surround yourself with reliable and trustworthy people.
The Dinner Test
I remember a friend who refused to start a serious project with other persons, a professional project, or simply go on vacation with friends, without first having done the “dinner test”.
He thus would propose a dinner with all the people concerned and he observed:
- Who offered to organize the dinner (choice of restaurant, times, etc.)
- Who needed to ask again and again and again the day, time, and place of dinner
- Who was on time… or not
- Who was paying his/her share… or not
His idea was that if people were reliable for a simple dinner, they would probably be reliable for a more extensive project or a vacation together.
If these people weren’t reliable for something as simple as a dinner party, according to my friend, they will not be reliable for a larger project.
My friend had indeed decided to consciously and intentionally surround himself with reliable people.
I would like to show you that this is becoming more and more important today and that my friend’s dinner test is perhaps even more important.
Because the more reliable you are, the more reliable people you are surrounded by.
And vice versa.
In several articles, I have shown that one of the characteristics of a chaotic world is the so-called self-amplification or the butterfly effect.
Before, things were mostly under control. There was a kind of thermostat that regulated things.
For instance :
- When it is too cold the thermostat turns on the heating. When it gets too hot, he shuts it down
- If a company is too successful and has a monopoly, competitors appear and the invisible hand of the market comes to regulate the market.
Today, in a world that has become chaotic, self-amplification is at work:
- The thermostat is broken, it’s gone crazy: if it’s too hot, he puts on even more heat!
- The winner takes all: the more a company is a leader, the longer it remains a leader (Amazon, Uber, Meta, etc.), and the more difficult it is for a new competitor to come and compete with them in their market
- The richer you are, the richer you get, the poorer you are, the poorer you get
Self-amplification also applies today more than ever to this aspect of our relationships with others, as in my friend’s dinner test: reliability.
Reliability: From Habit to Conscious Effort
Before, most people lived in a small community: a village, a small town, or the neighborhood of a big city.
Everything was known. If you were unreliable, or untrustworthy, it was known very quickly.
It was therefore obvious that paying attention to one’s image in one’s community was important. We were sensitive to reliability (and trust) because the social context constantly reminded us of it.
Our ancestors consciously or unconsciously always paid close attention to their reputation.
And then little by little many people joined the anonymity of big cities… and the virtual world.
Exchanges are increasingly done online and remotely.
And we have become accustomed to living in a kind of anonymity and a certain absence of responsibility.
The consequences of our actions have become less and less important.
If you insult someone on Facebook or act like a troll, who knows? Who cares? What are the consequences?
Before, a person who insulted everyone in a small village quickly paid the consequences: usually some form of exclusion.
This is no longer really the case on Facebook or Twitter…
What About tomorrow?
Paradoxically, thanks to or because of self-amplification, the importance of reliability and of our reputation is coming back in force after a few decades of indifference.
Indeed, our digital reputation is built little by little…
Thus appeared the rating, on Fiver, on Upwork, or the number of followers on Tik tok or Youtube, etc.
Our reputation has gone digital, everyone sees it, far beyond our “village”.
I, therefore, believe that reliability will become an even more important value in the future.
Maybe in a few years, people will see our “rating” displayed on their AR glasses and thus decide whether they can trust us, entrust us with a job or let us take care of their children.
Don’t wait for such a world (a little scary from my point of view) to take advantage of self-amplification effects to build yourself a great reputation…
Take advantage of this self-amplifying effect now to surround yourself with super-reliable people who will make your life easier.
Because thanks to self-amplification, the more reliable you are, the more you are surrounded by reliable people, and the more you live in a reliable world.
And conversely, the less reliable you are…
If you are always late, for example, punctual people will gradually stop interacting with you. They will prefer, consciously or more probably unconsciously, to surround themselves with people who, like them, are punctual and do not make them wait unnecessarily.
Similarly, if you keep your commitments, you will be surrounded more and more by people who keep theirs.
And conversely, if you don’t keep your commitments, you’ll find yourself surrounded more and more by people who don’t keep theirs…
The more reliable you are, the more people you are surrounded by will be reliable.
The more trustworthy you are, the more people you are surrounded by will be trustworthy.
In the real world and in the digital world.
And vice versa…