How the Laws of Thermodynamics Equate to Leadership

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The Laws of Thermodynamics apply as much to personal growth as they do to science. In case your school days are a bit further behind you, let me recap:

  • The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed in a system - only changed or transferred. 
  • The second law states that entropy - or chaos - in any system always increases.
  • The third law states the entropy of a system approaches a constant as temperature approaches zero. 

Here’s the interesting part. 

Do you know what scientists call the line that separates a system from its surroundings?

A boundary. 

Like a scientific system, we as humans must draw boundaries around ourselves in order to preserve our system(s). Let’s tackle the first law.

Energy can be neither created nor destroyed - only transferred. 

You, and your environment, are the product of the energy you allowed to be transferred to you - and the energy you transfer to others around you. If you understand that you are responsible for not only the energy in your environment but also for your ability to create a boundary around that system, everything changes. 

Have you ever had a conversation with a person, only to come away angry, anxious, and resentful - with no real reason as to why? 

You absorbed that person’s energy.

Conversely, have you ever talked with someone while you were anxious or upset, and then come away feeling peaceful, relieved, and centered?

You transferred your energy to them, and they transferred theirs to you.

Any system, left to itself, will eventually result in entropy (chaos).

When you have a system, in this case, your life, if you do not consciously input new energy into your system, it will naturally increase in chaos until it’s totally out of control.

If you’ve found yourself saying, “I don’t know how this is such a mess. I didn’t even do anything!” that’s exactly the point.

Think about your house. You just cleaned it. You expended energy cleaning the kitchen, doing the dishes, you did the floors, you cleaned the bathrooms. Then, not even an hour after your family gets home, it’s like you can’t even tell you cleaned! Shoes in the hallway, jackets on the couch, muddy footprints from the front door to a bedroom.

You, my friend, are just like your house. You have to consciously put new energy into your system, or chaos will naturally increase until everything is chaos. 

The entropy (chaos) of a system approaches a constant state as the temperature approaches zero.

Do you know what that constant state is? 


Full stop. 

When we allow the chaos in our systems to increase, eventually, they are going to result in a constant state - nothing. 

As the temperature in our environment naturally decreases - supports start to vanish, attitudes start to stay negative - your system is going to grind to a halt. 

That may be physical, and you become ill for pushing yourself with unsustainable work hours.

It may be emotional and result in depression or other mental health issues. 

It may be relational and result in divorce or estrangement from a child.

You must put new energy into your system consciously and consistently in order to achieve the results you want. That means you are making a conscious effort to learn, grow, and challenge yourself. It means you give your priorities priority-level energy. 

Unlock your own boundless brilliance, unlearn the illusions that keep you trapped, and unlock your potential.