Entropy – the most persistent of adversaries

Entropy. It’s a concept that describes the natural deterioration of order. It’s a process of degeneration that begins almost instantly, in almost everything.

Buy something new and almost instantly it begins to show signs of being used (at least if you live in my house, with six kids). Learn a whole bunch of things and pretty soon you’ve forgotten most of what you learned.

Sit down and try some algebra… that’s entropy. Go look at your kid’s bedrooms… that’s entropy. Stop exercising for a few weeks and then go weigh yourself… that’s entropy. Watch the news for an hour… that’s entropy.

It’s a simple concept really. Any system tends to lose order or energy, and will continue to do so until there is none left. That is, unless there is a constant, steady, reliable, and deliberate stream of energy being put back into the system to maintain its order.

It’s a universal principle in every aspect of your life. The moment you stop inputting into the system, deterioration begins.

That’s the reason why repetition of some of the smallest, most simple things can end up being the most important. Reading, thinking, and learning on a regular (if not daily) basis is crucial to overcoming intellectual, cognitive entropy.

The latest research in neuroplasticity shows us that when it comes to neuronal health, it’s a basic “use it or lose it” principle. Regardless how strong the connection used to be, if you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it. All behaviors, memories, talents, and abilities have a physical imprint in your brain by way of a pathway of interconnecting neurons. And when you stop exercising those connections, entropy sets in. The connections become weaker and weaker until your brain finds no more need to maintain them and they become completely severed.

In truth, the cumulative effect of frequent repetition of small exercises is most effective in staving off the entropy that would otherwise engulf us. In other words, consistent small and simple things lead to great things.

Entropy is when you ease back. It’s when you decide “it doesn’t matter” or “I can let it slip for a day.” It’s when you stop inputting into the system. For failure to occur, you only need to wait and do nothing. Just wait… which is why, again, it’s through the diligent, deliberate, and constant repetition of the simplest things that in the end may make the biggest difference.

This is true for every aspect of our lives, every worthy endeavor. Once you stop inputting, you start slipping.

So don’t stop, no matter what.


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