My first high school concert band. It’s burned into my memory. I’ve played in many bands since. But I remember this one well. There were arranged pieces. But, my fellow ‘musicians’ and me were usually so focused on playing that we lost direction. The structure of the arrangement fell apart. It’s difficult to explain what going wrong and for the conductor to offer sensible feedback, because it was everyone of us. Self-doubt was rampant. We were all new musicians. All new to playing in an ensemble. Cacophony is the word (bad noise).

Bad moments like these have a common structure.

Bad (the worst) moments to learn from are when we’re in entropy. Defined by James Clear as ‘Murphy’s Law applied to the entire universe,’ entropy is the degradation of a physical system. It’s a measure of disorder.

Disorder means we lack direction and structure. We get opaque and lagged feedback. Our self-doubt is rampant Lack of direction and structure provides no structure for feedback. Poor feedback further destroys direction and structure. Poor feedback reinforces self doubt. Self-doubt destroys belief and undermines our ability to listen to even poor feedback. Self-doubt disables the implementation of direction and structure. A lack of direction and structure magnifies self-doubt. We are, as Barry Staw once put it, ‘knee deep in the bid muddy.’

If these factors are at play, bad things are reflected in entropy.

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