This would be a new theory. Perhaps the title needs a little work.
Here’s what they are for me: A foundational element replicated for infinity that creates an entity that is full of intricacy and detail.
Wikipedia, citing a guy named Mandelbrot, describes a fractal as “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole.” Wow. No wonder I didn’t remember this from school.
Fractals and Personal Development
I think there are some fundamental principles that govern our interactions and create our legacy. In a fractal, if you change the fundamental geometric shape, you can get a significantly different shape. In life, if you change your fundamental principles and governing behaviours (your geometric shape, if you follow), same thing.
“I will embrace this event with a presumption of abundance” doesn’t change your story very much if you do it once. However, if you establish that presumption as part of your core it will rewrite your experience, your relationships and your legacy. Rather than a presumption of scarcity in the face of change, if you presume that resources, opportunity and happiness are abundant in every opportunity, it changes the outcome. It changes the entity.
If you change the scale (the detail) at which you look at a fractal, you see essentially the same image. It just keeps replicating at a smaller size. Here’s where my theory really comes together. Your principles create results at different scales, too. If I engage with each of my colleagues with honesty, enthusiasm for their growth and a true commitment to their success, I will be doing the same thing at the team level, the department level and the corporate level. I’m not so idealist as to say your choice in principles will change the organization, but it will change your experience with the organization.
Same with family, community or your weekend softball team. All part of the same fractal. All replica copies of the pattern you have established for your life. Each interaction carries an eerie similarity to other interactions, past and present. The accumulation of those interactions establishes similar relationships with groups and larger elements.
By the way, with all that consistency and replication, it pretty much defines how you’re remembered, too.
With this new, soon-to-be-famous (and renamed) theory now present, there are some barriers that would need to be addressed before this simple model is applied.
1) We have to deliberately decide to be owner of our choices
The reason life looks “fractured” rather than like a fractal right now is that we’re not replicating our own deliberate model. We’re getting sucked into someone or something else’s pattern.
2) We really should choose principles that we’re OK with being central themes in our eulogy
That’s sort of a bold way of saying that they need to be authentic and real. Contentment, happiness and success comes when we sustain our commitment to principles and replicate them in new, yet to be anticipated situations. When they start creating that full-sized, complex, nuanced entity, that’s when you see the real results.