Humans and Entropy

I’m sitting at Gate A23 waiting for my delayed flight home and I find myself combining two of my favorite topics humans and physics. Both can be simple on the surface and amazing complex underneath, amazingly simple as a single physics concept and amazingly complex as a system. For example, we have math and computational power to accurately determine the behavior of a simple electromagnetic wave, but add just a few more frequencies and the math get’s too complicated. Humans are similar, one and you can sometimes, maybe, every now and then, figure him or her out. But a group, not so much. Besides, even the addition of gender, binary, tertiary or more, immediately complicates the dynamic.

Another thought. I am often heard saying, ‘Humans have a tendency to do that which is easiest’. This is demonstrated often, but one anecdote comes to mind occurred when I was in graduate school. The program was designed for those who had jobs so met in the evening. One would think that that situation would increase the liklihood of high energy achievers. Ar one point the instructor asked what the group did when not at work or school. There were about a dozen people. I waited to be last so as not to influence the outcome. Every person described hibernating in front of the television. Except me. And yes I watch TV now and then. But, being a very creative person, at that time I was buidling a guitar in any spare time I could find. I was decreasing entropy.

Entropy-Car-300x186Entropy – a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system. “Google, definition”


The salient part is ‘the degree of randomness”   In other words without an influx of energy a system tends to move toward randomness. Or, when something dies it decays. Or an ocean wave forms, curls, crashes and disperses. Human dynamics are very much the same. Injecting energy into a system is what leaders are supposed to do. They conceive of a decreased entropy state then provides guidance, funding, encouragement and any other energy to achieve the desired outcome. For example, the business wants to implement the ability to dynamically alter pricing based on competition. In the beginning, reference intended, the is a high degree of entropy, no system, no capability. As meetings occur, software is written, documents are create entropy decreases as organization and chaos become the new capability.  All the while, the leaders must continue to add energy to fight the natural tendency of human to do that which is easiest.

Coaching is another hard effort required enormous energy, human entropy is the reason. A great deal of energy is needed to stay aware, observe, decide and act. The mental energy to stay in the coaching moment is used to decrease the entropy of the person or organization being coached.

I’m boarding in a few minutes.  Comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts.


3 responses to “Humans and Entropy

  1. Energy can bring with it negative or random impacts; it battles quiescence more directly than entropy. You left me thinking of the comparison of light, with its wavey-particly photons knocking and bouncing all about, versus the coherence of laser light. I’m glad the coaching experience has been interesting and rewarding for you. May you always apply your energies to any system with great coherence and positive intent!


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