Mindfulness Digest Vol 15: Entropy🌡️

Mindfulness learning : Entropy & organisational leadership

Coffee and tea rounds are aplenty in our house! Trips to the microwave to reheat them are a plenty too 😁. I blame the entropy!

Seriously though, entropy is all around us. It’s not just applicable to thermodynamics. For instance, rooms become dusty when they are not maintained, furniture creaks after extended use, coffees become cold after a while, relationships grow apart over time, and our health slowly descends as the years pass..

In other words, all systems will descend into more and more disorder and eventually collapse until an external force maintains them at equilibrium.

In nature, chaos is regular and order is irregular.

Organisations, teams, projects are especially subject to entropy. They are complex systems within their own right.

People might grow complascent in their roles, worse they might become apathetic and bored. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that when you have enough of such people, disorder will follow. It will keep growing till it’s natural endpoint of people leaving or worse the organisation going bankrupt. There are many possible interventions. We must provide regular training to people. We must keep them busy with a challenging purpose. It is also helpful to introduce a bit of chaos into their routines, perhaps try out a new kind of task, give a very different challenge that is focused on a different competency.

On projects, entropy comes down to actively managing structure, bureaucracy, risks, complexity and much more. At many organisations, bureaucracy reigns supreme. You might feel like your main job is to bend rules to get anything accomplished. However, entropy teaches us that this is not an exception it is a norm.

In either case, leadership is of paramount importance, and while we have indeed embraced remote culture, we are at risk. Entropy is a force of nature and even the universe is not spared!

In physics, entropy is a law; in social systems, it’s a mere tendency — though a strong one, to be sure. – FS Blog

Key takeaway for me, is to keep this at the back of my mind while dealing with any complex system. Similar to 80-20 principle. A great mental model…💎

An Inspiration 💯 : DJ Patil

Born in India, raised in the United States, Dhanurjay Patil was christened DJ by his friends. Flunked many math classes, got kicked out, got suspended in his first year of high school and even got arrested.

Self studied to get over his weakness and turned it into his strength. Studied every math class at UC San Diego, and went to University of Maryland where he studied chaos theory with the person who coined the term! Has been in data science ever since.

Worked in Department of Defence and served on the Threat Anticipation Project. Worked with Greylock partners, served as the first ever US Chief data scientist during the Obama administration.

Famously kept the below card in his white House notebook! Awesome advice, don’t you think?

You are such an inspiration, sir!

Source: Twitter

Josh Waitzkin’s mental models 🏞️

Waitzkin is a Chess prodigy and a national champion, Tai chi 2x world champion, first of a kind black belt in Jiu Jitsu, currently mastering surfing 🌊.

George Mack has compiled a thread on this and I think it’s awesomeness.

  1. Depth over width – has an elaborate methodology for learning where he goes in depth until he understands an area for its first principles. E.g. chess and importance of center pieces.
  2. Locus of control – argues we internalize an external locus of control. For instance, we label weather as bad, and avoid doing certain things whereas it’s purely an interpretation that can be changed. You can still go out on a worst day and enjoy the storm in all its glory…
  3. Stress & Recovery – argues that intense work performance is possible when followed by intense relaxation. Most people are mediocre at both work performance and rest.
  4. Challenging the subconscious – while greatest minds cut through complexity easily they also get stuck for long on a few things. He argues we need to avoid this trap and sleep over it and let our subconscious deal with it.
  5. Deconstructing common root structures – as you spend more time going into depth of a field, your original assumptions might get challenged or even replaced with new ones. My interpretation of this was being very aware of something you didn’t know well and that you now know better; the ability to deconstruct deeply held beliefs and change them as needed.

Original thread click here