Here’s the cold, hard truth:
Life is not for you; it’s against you.
Every day you’re alive, it’s actively trying to destroy you and everything you care about in this world.
Life is the struggle to keep death at a respectable distance. Death seems to want to move in prematurely and get us, so to have a good, long, flourishing life, what do you have to do? Push back.
– Jim Rohn
Life doesn’t want you to be happy.
It doesn’t want you to succeed.
Most of the time, it’s actively working against your best interests.
And yet, even though it can seem like life has a personal vendetta against you, it is at the same time totally indifferent toward you.
It doesn’t care who you are or what you want.
It doesn’t care about your hopes or dreams.
It doesn’t even know you exist.
So why does it feel like life’s got your picture on the wall with a target on your face?
It all comes down to a little-understood term called Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Today we’ll look at how life is actively working against you and what you can do about it. When you better understand how life works, you’ll be able to work with it, instead of against it.
Ready to get started?
Let’s dive in.
Life is a Battle
Life is a constant battle between your efforts to create a successful life, and the forces actively trying to pull you down.
You might not have realized this yet, but failure is the default option in life.
By default, life has a negative pull toward chaos and destruction on everything. Nothing in life stays the same; when left alone, everything in life breaks down and deteriorates over time.
This means unless you make a conscious effort to improve or maintain the important areas of your life, life’s negative forces will slowly, but surely, chip away at them until they rot and decay.
There is no standing still in life.
You are always either moving forward or moving back.
You already know this to be true in many areas of your life. For example:
- If you don’t go to the gym, you don’t keep your strength — you lose it.
- If you don’t watch what you eat, you don’t keep your weight — you gain it.
- If you don’t keep practicing a skill, you get worse at it.
- If you don’t put effort into your relationship, it slowly loses its spark.
- If you don’t work on your mind, it starts getting dull over time.
- If you don’t take care of your mental and emotional well-being, you start becoming stressed, anxious, and depressed.
- If you don’t pay attention to your health, your body slowly breaks down and gets sick.
- If you don’t maintain your car properly, it starts to rust and break down.
We all know this, but we tend to forget.
After all, life is busy, and it’s hard to balance everything, so we put a few things on the back burner, telling ourselves we’ll get to them when we have more time — but we never do.
We end up going through life, neglecting the areas and things that matter to us the most: our family, our happiness, our health, our dreams.
We convince ourselves that everything will be fine and that we’ll tend those areas as soon as this current stage of our life passes. We tell ourselves they’ll still be there, waiting for us, when we finally have some more time.
But the truth is that the second you stop focusing on any area of your life, it immediately starts getting worse.
It might not seem like it in the beginning — the deterioration starts slow enough for us not to notice — but with every day that passes, things are slowly sliding further along toward failure until finally, one day, you look around and realize you have lost everything important to you.
Neglect is like an infection. Left unchecked it will spread throughout our entire system of disciplines and eventually lead to a complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled and prosperous human life.
– Jim Rohn
But what’s important to realize is that life’s negative pull toward failure is present throughout all of our lives — even after we’ve reached our goals and dreams.
How reaching your goals can destroy you
We often have the wrong idea of what happens when we finally reach our goals.
You work hard to achieve a particular result: a stable career, a beautiful relationship, a fit body.
You spend all of your energy and effort chasing it, thinking that, once you’ll arrive, you’ll be able to finally sit back, relax, and stop working so hard.
You tell yourself that:
- Once you get your perfect body, you won’t have to keep starving yourself and watching what you eat.
- Once you get into a good relationship, you won’t have to put in as much effort into romance and dating.
- Once you reach your dream income per month, you’ll be able to go on a permanent vacation on some beach and stop working so hard on your business.
But life doesn’t work that way.
Nothing in life stays the same without a continuous effort to maintain it.
Life’s natural tendency is always pulling us toward failure. If we want things to remain the same, we must continue to apply effort in the opposite direction.
The moment you relax and stop doing the things that got you to your goal in the first place, you will immediately start going backward and losing any progress you’ve made.
- The moment you relax and stop eating healthy and working out, the bulging biceps and six-pack abs start to go away.
- The moment you relax and stop putting effort into your relationship, the love and attraction begin to fade.
- The moment you relax and stop working on your business, your competitors overtake you, and your customers abandon you.
Any achievement requires continuous effort to maintain it.
Achieving your goal does not mark the end of your efforts.
Even after you’ve worked hard and succeeded, life’s negative forces are still out to destroy everything you’ve managed to achieve.
So far, life seems to be just a big party pooper going around and raining on everybody’s parade.
But is that really the case?
You realize it’s unlikely that life is targeting you directly, but why does it seem like it’s always out to destroy everything in life you hold dear?
To better understand the nature of life, and its hidden forces, let’s look toward science for some answers.
Why life seems to always be against you — Entropy and The Second Law of Thermodynamics
The second law of thermodynamics tells us that, over time, everything in life naturally moves toward an increase in entropy, which is the measure of how much disorder there is in a system.
This means that without intervention or external energy, everything in life naturally becomes more and more disorganized over time.
It is the natural tendency of things to lose order. Left to its own devices, life will always become less structured. Sand castles get washed away. Weeds overtake gardens. Ancient ruins crumble. Cars begin to rust. People gradually age. With enough time, even mountains erode and their precise edges become rounded. The inevitable trend is that things become less organized. This is known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is one of the foundational concepts of chemistry and it is one of the fundamental laws of our universe.”
It really can feel like life is out to get you and sabotage everything in your life, but the truth turns out to be much less sinister.
You see, life is ultimately indifferent to us; it doesn’t care whether we succeed or fail.
If left to its own devices, life will randomly arrange itself into any number of potential combinations and circumstances.
The problem is that out of the infinite number of possible combinations life can arrange itself in, only a very small number of combinations is desirable to us, while the vast majority of combinations are entirely undesirable.
Imagine that you take a box of puzzle pieces and dump them out on a table. In theory, it is possible for the pieces to fall perfectly into place and create a completed puzzle when you dump them out of the box. But in reality, that never happens. Why? Quite simply, because the odds are overwhelmingly against it. Every piece would have to fall in just the right spot to create a completed puzzle. There is only one possible state where every piece is in order, but there are a nearly infinite number of states where the pieces are in disorder. Mathematically speaking, an orderly outcome is incredibly unlikely to happen at random.
Out of all the places our ears could potentially grow, we humans are only happy when they grow where we’ve come to expect them: on the sides of our head.
One specific outcome out of an infinite number of possible outcomes.
The problem is that when we’ve got only one outcome that is acceptable to us in a sea of infinite potential outcomes that we consider unacceptable, the odds that things will go right are always stacked against us.
We shouldn’t be surprised when things go wrong in life; we should be surprised when things go right
When we think about the staggering number of potential ways in which things could go wrong, and compare it to the relatively few ways in which things could go right, we should be genuinely surprised when anything goes our way at all.
Knowing just how slim the odds are of life randomly giving us an outcome that we would consider desirable, we should expect that most things in life, if left alone, will naturally go wrong.
And so, the truth is that life is not against us; it’s just that we, as humans, are incredibly picky about which outcomes in life we consider desirable, and which ones we don’t.
We’re only happy when our body is healthy, our car is in perfect working condition, our relationships are harmonious, the weather is sunny, people are friendly to us, and the number on the scale stays the same throughout our adult life.
And since there are so many more possibilities of outcomes we find undesirable, it is therefore incredibly unlikely that life, on its own, will ever randomly arrange itself into an outcome we happen to find desirable. So it makes sense that when we leave things up to chance, we will inevitably experience more problems, difficulties, and undesirable outcomes.
Problems seem to arise naturally on their own, while solutions always require our attention, energy, and effort. Life never seems to just work itself out for us. If anything, our lives become more complicated and gradually decline into disorder rather than remaining simple and structured.
When left to its own devices, everything in life will always become more random and disorganized — not less.
This means that if you sit back and do nothing, life will inevitably arrange itself into some random combination of circumstances, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you won’t like it.
So what can we do?
So far, things have been looking pretty gloomy.
It seems like you just can’t get a break, and that the universe is actively working against you.
If you leave things up to life, you’ll slowly be pulled in any one of life’s many random directions, 99.9% of which you will probably not like.
So, what does this mean for you? Are you doomed to suffer and fail because of life’s inherent randomness?
Should you sit back and let life pull you down toward failure and decay?
Of course not!
You can fight back against the pull of entropy. You can solve a scattered puzzle. You can pull the weeds out of your garden. You can clean a messy room. You can organize individuals into a cohesive team. But because the universe naturally slides toward disorder, you have to expend energy to create stability, structure, and simplicity. Successful relationships require care and attention. Successful houses require cleaning and maintenance. Successful teams require communication and collaboration. Without effort, things will decay.
It’s time for you to stand up and fight back.
It’s time for you to do what you were built to do.
It’s time to put a little effort in.
The Simple Recipe to a Happy Life: Just Add Effort
You are a human, and human beings are masters at solving problems and coming up with ways to control and bring order to the universe’s inherent chaotic nature.
Not sure if you heard, but making order out of chaos is sort of our thing.
To offset life’s natural pull toward chaos, we must apply our energy and effort to organize life into favorable and desirable outcomes.
This is why, throughout the ages, humans have always fought to gain control and mastery over life. They knew that if they did nothing, life would slowly take them toward pain and misery.
Without effort, all things will slowly slide into chaos and ruin.
The … ultimate purpose of life, mind, and human striving: to deploy energy and information to fight back the tide of entropy and carve out refuges of beneficial order.
– Steven Pinker
If you want to protect yourself from life’s natural pull toward deterioration and disorder, you must take full responsibility for every area of your life that’s important to you.
You must not leave up to life’s randomness the things that matter to you the most.
Things do not get better on their own. That’s not how life works.
The natural trend of life is always toward failure and chaos.
It’s nothing personal; it’s just the way things are.
You should do it, you could do it, you don’t do it; that’s called formula for disaster. All you’ve got to do is let that and a few other things accumulate for six years and now you’re driving what you don’t want to drive, wearing what you don’t want to wear, living where you don’t want to live, doing what you don’t want to do, maybe having become what you really didn’t want to become.
– Jim Rohn
Knowing this, you must decide what areas of life are important to you, and commit to constant and never-ending improvement in them.
You have to remember that unless you make a conscious effort to maintain or improve your relationship, your health, or your career, that life’s negative pull will slowly destroy them all.
Decide what matters to you and what you’re willing to fight for, and then fight for it every single day.
Know that you are always in a battle against the very nature of life, which is trying to rob you of all your success, and that if you stop to rest, you will lose valuable ground.
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.
– Jim Rohn
Life is not to be feared, but we must see it for what it is so we can navigate it successfully.
Never lose sight of what matters most to you.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this article.