Watch the video above, or read the transcription below
Entropy, as described by the second law of thermodynamics, is a concept in physics that describes how everything slowly goes to disorder. Today, we’re going to talk about how this practically affects your life and your confidence on a daily basis.
I’m no quantum physicist – I’m not an expert who can really talk about entropy. But the simplest way to describe entropy, I think, is to observe the way a glass of ice-cold water will always come to room temperature. And if that cup of water is left long enough, the water will evaporate, the cup will end up empty. Then, if you leave that even longer the glass itself will disintegrate.
This is how everything works. Everything eventually settles into disorder over time, nothing can remain permanently. It has something to do with the universe expanding all the time – everything’s kind of being stretched out and dispersed as distance increases over time.
The Angel of death
All we need to know is that essentially there is a physical law in the universe that is constantly trying to pull our lives apart! Think of it as the Angel of Death, constantly bringing you closer towards total destruction.
Bodies deteriorate with age, your job will come to an end, your physical abilities will dissolve with age, your relationships end eventually, mountains erode over time, and eventually the sun will go out. You are surrounded by physically measurable evidence that entropy exists. Basically, the longer you live, the worst it gets…
Unless you’re doing something about it.
Today we’re going to talk about how to notice it and how to deal with it.
Our fatal error
The big mistake people make is they try to create a plateau. They try to create a balanced, easy life, something comfortable and smooth that does not change – it does not get better or worse.
They try to get a good job they can stick to. They try to build a relationship that will be the last relationship they ever need to have. They try to find a diet and exercise plan that will maintain their health forever.
People are trying to cross that finish line and achieve a comfortable retirement from their struggles – a final solution to all their problems. And this is probably the biggest mistake that anyone can make in their life because there’s no such thing as endless comfort.
The numbers game
If you’re flatlining (keeping safe and comfortable) and entropy is relentlessly working against you, then you’re a zero while entropy is a -1, which means you’re going to go down.
The only way that you can fight the -1 influence of entropy is to be a +1 or a +2 at all times! +1 is the minimum required to just keep you from going down, so you have to work at it just to stay neutral. If you’re not working at it – if you’re just keeping things nice and smooth and clean and comfortable – then you’re disintegrating.
Not only is life unfair, it’s actively working against you. From the day you were born, you entered into a competition with death.
Now, while that’s a competition you’re ultimately going to lose, but you’re still fighting it every day, battle by battle. Anyone who’s not fighting against entropy will be destroyed quicker than the others. Zero plus -1 equals -1.
Success is failure
One way to look at it is: staying still actually equals going backwards. If you’re staying in a ‘safe’ boring job and a safe but unexciting relationship and doing the same shit all the time, you’re actually going backwards, not staying the same.
It might feel like you’re staying the same because you’re comfortable. Things are predictable and there’s a routine. But you’re being dissolved from behind the scenes by entropy.
The longer you stay at your job, the more likely you are to become redundant. The longer you stay in a relationship without putting any effort in, the more likely it is that you’re both going to get bored and miserable. Even if you just keep your exercise the same every time, your body will eventually get used to it, and then it’s no longer going to have any benefits for you.
I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately about obesity and eating disorders, just to learn more about them. And I’ve noticed that when somebody diets a lot they go into starvation mode and their metabolism becomes much more conservative (to make food-energy last longer). When they go back to eating normally, as they always do, they put on heaps of weight because they have the same metabolism as when they were starving, so they start to store fat.
This is the kind of thing that entropy does to us – it adjusts to wherever you’re at, until what was once helpful just becomes normal and then, finally, unhelpful. There is always a return to -1 if you try to stay the same. For someone to stay slim and toned, they must constantly increase their nutrition quality and exercise intensity.
So if you’re not constantly improving, eventually you’re going to go down. If your exercise is static, eventually your fitness will go down. If your connections and depth of relationships are static, then eventually they’ll become superficial and end. If your challenges in life are all solved and everything is nice, eventually you’ll experience kind of mental atrophy – you’ll become less cognitively functional because you’re not being challenged, you’re not exercising your mind.
Self-development is about constantly seeking more challenging problems to solve.
Entropy feeds evil
We can also see entropy in the political sphere. When we don’t stand against evil – if we’re ‘neutral’ – it gets worse.
We can see this with World War Two. The Allies chose not to rise against Germany when the first warning signs were happening (e.g. the first invasions were taking place), and look at what happened with that! By the time everyone got involved, it was already a fucking disaster.
We can see the elements of this reoccurring today in USA and UK politics. While there’s a lot of whingeing on Facebook, that’s just stasis – that does nothing to improve the situation. Slowly, these powers are getting stronger and having a bigger influence, and we are starting to see the first deaths come from them (like the mass murder that happened recently where the shooter cited Trump’s rants about foreigners as reasoning).
We can start to see that this slowly increasing destruction is becoming normal. You can see the United States becoming numb about mass murders. You can see that stasis of being numb is actually increasing the evil – things are going downhill for their country.
It’s all just a game
We must understand that there’s no finish line, there’s no safe space, there’s no neutral stance – you must fight against the entropy all the time or it win by default. It’s going to beat you in the end but you can put it off each day by being a +2 to counter against the -1.
Think of it as a computer game – one of those games where you’re a little dude walking around fighting zombies or whatever (e.g. Grand Theft Auto). Imagine what was to happen if you just put the controller down, walked away and didn’t do anything with the character for 30 minutes. He’s now dead, right? He needs to constantly be fighting against the enemies in the game just to stay alive, let alone to succeed and achieve the mission. He has to be active or he dies.
Now if you’re ‘standing still’ in your life (not pushing to a +1 or +2 level of improvement), then misery, meaninglessness, physical atrophy and eventually death are going to consume you. You’re like a computer game character, just standing there and waiting for the enemies to swarm.
You must understand that standing still doesn’t do anything for you. You’re not safe. The rest of the world moves on without you. Entropy keeps going, no matter what you’re doing. You have to be active in your fight against it.
It’s either good or bad – there’s no middle
One way to measure everything is as either helpful or harmful, with nothing ranked as neutral. There’s no middle. So something’s either improving your life – making it better than it was before- or it’s considered negative; a contribution to entropy.
If someone’s not making your life better, they’re making it worse. If your exercise plan isn’t improving your strength, flexibility and stamina, then it’s reducing all these factors.
Stop measuring anything as being ‘safe’ or good enough to stay the same.
For example, you might have a job that is safe and comfortable, and you think that it’s neutral. It’s not improving your life, it’s just keeping you alive. It just gives you something to do and puts money in your bank account but it’s not measurable increasing your quality of life in any way. Stop viewing that as a zero, that’s a -1, you’re going down!
Seriously, in very practical terms, with the oncoming approach of AI technology and the kind of monopolies of capitalization that are going on in the corporate world at the moment, you’re very quickly going to be made redundant these days, right? Robots are waiting to do your job. So if you’re not constantly upskilling and adapting to the market, you are just waiting to be replaced.
For you to be in a safe career, you need to be constantly going upwards. That’s the only way to even just stay neutral. You must be more than -1 or zero to be improving.
The exercise you do today should always feel like it was harder than yesterday’s (or at least as hard). You should always be a little bit more honest, a bit more daring, and a bit more compassionate in your relationships and friendships than you were yesterday. Your spirituality should always be developing. Just to stay alive.
You should be +1 at a minimum, rather than seeing zero as an accurate measure. You’re either +1, +2, +3 etc, or by default you’re -1.
How do we translate this into everyday activities? We’re talking about risk-taking, boldness, discomfort, willingly being confused, learning new things, experiencing frustration, physical pain, and constantly enduring harsher conditions than you dealt with in the past. It means constantly trying to learn more than you know now – challenging your beliefs, talking to new people, having new experiences, and pushing for more difficult goals.
You don’t set goals so you can achieve them, you set them merely as milestones. Once they are achieved, you reset them. Forget about achieving happiness when you accomplish the goal, it’s about fighting off the entropy. You know that you’re successfully countering entropy if your goals always harder than what you’re doing.
The cuddle of death
If you achieve your goal and then just sit there like it’s Game Over, you will start to become entropic. You are dissolving – you just can’t see it because it happens quite slowly, like the erosion of a mountain by the ocean.
If life feels comfortable for a long period of time, that is the deceptive cuddle of death. You are dying.
I know it feels good. I know it’s good to have a nice run – a break from problems, where things are basically going along the way they should be and you don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t want to be going to take risks and be courageous and stuff while everything’s nice.
But understand that that nice comfortable feeling is a downward slope. You’re going to pay in heavy coin in the future if you don’t do something about it now. It doesn’t mean you can’t rest – indeed resting is vital to growth. It just means that every day there should be physical exertion. Every day there should be something that challenges your courage. Every day, there should be an increased level of honesty to the day before. Every day there should be something new that you’ve learned.
This isn’t much; we’re talking maybe an hour’s worth of activity, tops, each day. Not only will that keep you alive, but it will also help you to thrive. It will ward off things like heart disease and all the physical problems that come from not taking care of yourself, or Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and all the cognitive problems that come with not taking care of your brain, or loneliness and the atrophy of your relationships. You’ll be able to fight off all this stuff with just a little bit of discomfort each day.
And that’s really how you have a quality life – you just beat entropy each day. If you can be a +1 or +2 every day, then you’re always going to thrive. It’s when you’re a -1 (remember every zero is really a -1) that things slide. Or even -2 or -5, like some people who make their lives even worse. They rush towards entropy with excessive drug use or lots of fakery in their relationships or choosing a job that sucks or whatever. You can always speed up entropy.
You can’t stop it but you can get it to its lowest possible speed, which means being a +1 or +2, challenging yourself every day.
If you’re comfortable for too long, you’re dying. Go and get uncomfortable right here, right now, and then do it again tomorrow, and you’ll be fine.
Thank you so much for tolerating that random, probably quite unscientific rant. I appreciate you and if you like that and want to share it around, please do and of course, subscribe to my YouTube channel to get notified when I make my next video.
And of course, if you want to fight against entropy in a really productive way, and you want to know what it looks like to be a +2 or +3 or +5 every day, get in touch email@example.com and I’ll help you towards that goal.