The Snowball Effect


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A snowball rolls down a hill, representing your life taking on speed and momentum.

Tatum Steward, Photo Journalist

The snowball effect is the theory that every decision, no matter big or small, has a significant impact on a person’s future. An example of this may be a moment when someone has to decide to go to the beach one day; whichever option they inevitably pick weighs heavily on how their future plays out. Say this person chose not to go to the beach, and that decision may have saved their life because they could have gotten into an accident on the way there.

The whole meaning behind the “snowball” of this theory comes from the fact that as a snowball rolls, the snow picks up and gets added to the snowball. Like the snowball, one’s life is essentially just the same, as each moment adds on to make one big story. Each past experience leads to some sort of future outcome and potential future benefits.

In a way, this theory is very similar to the idea that everything happens for a reason. Depending on your own beliefs, many people trust that mistakes and triumphs alike are all moments that they had to go through in order to get to where they are today. 

Understanding the snowball effect makes me wonder how theories like these can benefit businesses.

— Ashley Tsai (11)

How can you use the snowball effect to your advantage? Going along with the idea that every single decision has an impact on your future, there is not much you can do to prevent any inevitable moments. However, you can choose to benefit from this idea through business strategies. Using the thought that your decisions build and eventually lead to something greater can be applied to how you work. Making a business that can “roll” and “pick up speed” as it goes can be beneficial for marketing strategies. Ashley Tsai (11), a member of the Mustang Business Academy at YLHS, states, “Understanding the snowball effect makes me wonder how theories like these can benefit businesses.” Furthermore, when you understand that the larger something is, the more power it has, you may be better off. For example, making a major decision while running a corporation is obviously a hefty chore, but knowing that there is the possibility for your business to prosper because of it may be ammunition to further business moves. 

Whether you choose to use the snowball effect for economical or personal gain, you must always remember that every decision leads to several different outcomes, many of which could be bad as well as good. So while you may want to work this theory in your favor, it may be best to sit back and let your life roll.