Morning Reflections on Entropy with Coffee.

“In short, we can define entropy as a measure of the disorder of the universe, on both a macro and a microscopic level. The Greek root of the word translates to “a turning towards transformation” — with that transformation being chaos.
As you read this article, entropy is all around you. Cells within your body are dying and degrading, an employee or coworker is making a mistake, the floor is getting dusty, and the heat from your coffee is spreading out. Zoom out a little, and businesses are failing, crimes and revolutions are occurring, and relationships are ending. Zoom out a lot further and we see the entire universe marching towards a collapse.”
– Shane Parrish

A couple nights ago, I read a great article called Battling Entropy: Making Order of the Chaos  in our lives. Writer and thinker Shane Parrish writes on what that means and the full ramifications of it in our world.

I find myself revisiting it today as a morning exercise of sorts and applying it to some current situations in my life.

  • Taking this mental rule and understanding that everything in their natural order falls apart, not together, and that I must understand that absolutely:
  • Understanding that really does give one peace and direction.

It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being pragmatic. When you search and connect with the reality of how the world really works you are also better prepared and expecting.

REFLECTIONS

PROFESSIONAL

At age 26 and as an entrepreneur, I’m still worrying about how I will be financially independent in the sustainable sense for the long game. Do I keep doing what my heart tells me to do, or do I one day make the decision to choose a stable job that affords me compound savings at an office job?

I am saving pennies on the dollar now, and I can be saving dollars and mucho moola on the dollar if I worked in something else.

I understand that without considerably added effort as an entrepreneur and with good fortune, this will only lead to entropy (in financial resources, in personal and time capital, etc.), so I need to set firm guidelines for myself, for how long I am taking this passion project for the ride and what milestones or goals I will set it against in order to validate sustaining my efforts in it.

HEALTH

At age 26, I have osteoporosis. That has resulted in me getting foot pain or fractures regularly, and I’ve also had to retire from many sports and activities that I never expected to have retired from at this age.

It’s frustrating, but I understand it’s just an early realization for me on my part that this body will only continue to degenerate as you age. There will be arthritis, there will be osteoporosis, there might be some disease, and you will most certainly start losing collagen & elasticity and develop fine lines on your forehead in your twenties. However, this does not mean I should just rest. Resting only encourages more entropy.  To keep the body sharp is to keep the mind sharp is to keep the life sharp.

Sharp as a well made kitchen knife. Mhm.

Whatever effort humans put into regenerating the body is an effort of pure science, bullish effort, and going against nature. It’s quite impressive, thinking of all of it actually.

SOCIAL

From age 18 to my early 20s, I had the tendency to not want to create deep, personal relationships. For me, what I had was enough, and the immense effort required to sustain human relationships with often very irrational people just seemed like such a high cost for me, and I didn’t want to put the effort in. It was better I thought to invest in my work, my passions, and myself. Engage with others, but keep a distance. Don’t get too close. At least introspection with the self was certain to result in some kind of fruit. This was a shortsight, as I realize now that forming and working really hard to maintain authentic relationships with people are one of the greatest investments I can make in my life. Human relationships counteract all forms of entropy: mental, emotional, professional, etc.

For those having trouble with developing relationships, or with little interest in developing any: Yes, people can disappoint you, yes they might not be the most intellectually stimulating people in the world, yes, they can be unreliable, but so am I, and so are you. And I’d still like to say I’m worth the effort and worth getting to know. There are fruits to be seen and revealed, through me, by you or some other person who enters my life. So I guess I’d apply the same for you.

“The energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.”
– Rudolf Clausius

FAMILY

I’ve experienced entropy at its max in this category. I’ve grown up out of a very troubled home, and what was considered “family” was breaking down at a Nitro rollercoaster steep rate from my middle school years. I saw what happens when there is no effort put in, or when the only effort put into the family unit encourages further dissolution and entropy.

However, through this experience, I’ve also seen what incredible things can happen in the re-building if you seek to counteract entropy. It requires double, no triple, the effort.

So why not make the effort in the first place.

My experience has brought my current family closer and we are more vigilant as a family in some ways. We are exceedingly careful to not say or do some things that would harm our relationship with the other. There is a foundational, rigid, understanding of what we must not do or entertain in our current romantic relationships and for our future relationships. And we’re aggressive with building, building, building. Building new ways and systems to affirm one another, to show we appreciate one another, to show we love one another.

“Truly understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.”
Shane Parrish

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

With my romantic relationships I tend to take a one man stance. Considering 1. my subscription to this idea of chaos and disorder naturally developing (emphasis on natural order) as time goes on in every aspect of our lives and our world and 2. all I know about myself and my emotional and physical capacity as a human-woman, I just don’t think I can go on living life attaching myself to and emotionally engaging with more than one romantic interest at a given time.  If the aim is to build and not to break-down, the effort involved in romantic relationships cannot be optional, but required. I believe this effort should begin at earlier stages of getting to know someone, not when there is a “are we…” talk. Getting to know someone at my convenience only, or not showing I care when I don’t really care at the early stage of a relationship is possible– my every right– and also comfortable, but in the end what does that lead to? What can all that lead to? There’s the chance that you might fall in love and I have seen many friends who are in wonderful, wholesome relationships which resulted from a start of the more casual or poly- sort. But it entertains a whole lot more chance. And I guess this all goes down to who I am as a person again. I don’t care for welcoming chance.

 

 

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Fragile Humans

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”
– James Baldwin

1 part Pretense

1 part Earnestness

Bubble. Smooth. Leaven.

Add new voices.

Mix.

Bake New.


Holding onto the promise and truth that my God makes beautiful things out of dust.

Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal, Notes on User Engagement

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Habit-making Phases for your website/product:

Trigger: What are your external or internal triggers that will have users come back to your product? How can you couple an external trigger as closely as possible to an internal trigger to optimize the push to user to action?

Action: The action a user performs with the expectation that there will be an immediate gratification of some kind or reward.

Variable Reward: The user payoff. Variable, because with an increase in predictability, users are less prone to be attracted to the pull, or the “mystery” of an object.

Investment: Concerning the anticipation of rewards in the future.

Fogg’s Core Motivators:

B= MAT

A given behavior will occur when motivation, ability and a trigger are present at the same time and in sufficient degrees.

  1. The user must have sufficient motivation
  2. The user must have the ability to complete the desired action
  3. A trigger must be present to activate the behavior.

6 Elements of Simplicity (Determinants of levels of user engagement/user acquisition):

Time: How Long it takes to complete an action.

Money: The fiscal cost of taking an action.

Physical effort: The amount of labor involved in taking the action

Brain Cycles: The level of mental effort and focus required to take an action.

Social Deviance: How accepted the behavior is by others.

Non-Routine: “How much the action matches or disrupts existing routines” – Fogg

 

Studies show:

The appearance of scarcity affecting one’s perception of value.

Despite the irrelevant information you get, you’re led to think an object has heightened value, with less of it.

Experiencing sudden abundance makes you value something less.

How does this influence buying/subscription behavior?

Heuristics (If you forgot what heuristics mean – related to the mental shortcuts taken to make decisions and form opinions):

“the mind takes shortcuts informed by our surroundings to make quick and sometimes erroneous judgements”

2007 study of price influencing one’s perception of taste of wine:

Same wine was used, but the testers were informed that the various wines they were drinking were anywhere form $10 – $90. As the prices rose, there was a rise in testers’ perception of the taste and value of the wine, despite all the wines being identical.

People often anchor to one piece of information when making a decision (what hook do people gravitate to when they look at my landing page or my product at first glance?)

Endowed Progress/Rewards Study:

2 test groups:

1st test group was given a punch card for coffee: There were 8 holes to punch, and the customer would have to punch 8 to receive a free drink.

2nd test group was given a punch card for coffee with 10 holes. 2 holes were punched already form the onset. Customers would have to punch 8 to receive a free drink.

2nd test group returned with higher engagement rate and also showed signs of increased motivation.

Behavior being driven by 3 core motivators:

  1. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain
  2. Seeking hope and avoiding fear.
  3. Seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection.

“Come to depend on the product as a reliable solution to their problem— the salve for the itch they came to scratch.”

“Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included.

Social learning theory, psychologist Albert Bandura:

People who observe someone being rewarded for a a certain behavior are more likely to alter their own beliefs and subsequent actions.

Persistence hunting = On long term roadmaps

“When the kudu must stop to catch his breath, the hunter begins closing in, not to catch it, but to run it to exhaustion.”

Optional solution for finding triggers:

The 5 whys – iterative interrogative process. Why is what you are making needed? Can you validate it?

Users’ search for variable rewards:

  1. rewards of the tribe: gratification from others (feeling accepted, important, safe)
  2. rewards of the hunt: material goods, money, or information (saving time, money)
  3. rewards of the self: mastery, completion, competency, consistency. (clearing out your gmail inbox, finishing a book, filing taxes 3 months in advance)

“Only by understanding what truly matters to users can a company correctly match the right variable reward to their intended behavior.

When you ask for favors, testing, or execute outreach to potential subscribers, giving an element of choice largely increases targets’ willingness to engage and comply: e.g. “But you are free to accept and refuse”

Leverage familiar behaviors users want to do, instead of have to do.

Companies that successfully change behaviors present users with an implied choice between their own way of doing things and a new, more convenient way to fulfill existing needs.

When you look at your product, would you have used it? Why or why not? What current elements would stop you from using it?

The Dreamers, a story of denial, withdrawal, and sexuality– how French.

(written, but unpublished from August 23, 2017, age 24)

 

The Dreamers is not for the sexually faint of heart, but it is truly a story to behold.

The lines that stayed with me:

“One of us, one of us!”

 

The scenes that stayed with me:

When Isabelle’s hair catches on fire, and Matthew is instinctively aflutter with trying to take it out and the scene fuzzes out and in–and everything seems to just slow down with that gaze..

Obviously, one of the most sensual and irreverent sex scenes I’ve ever seen. Isabelle and Matthew having sex for the first time in the kitchen whilst Theo makes some eggs for himself in the background, copping a cig, with a literal revolution (student demonstrations) and chaos unfolding on the streets.

Theo and Isabelle playfully slams the door on Matthew in the rain. And he’s locked out. A true third wheel in the most unnatural sense of the word. Matthew is left standing for moments that seem like a life-time, exasperated, dejected, rejected, third-wheeldified. So much passive aggression in this scene. SWEET RICHNESS.

All the gazes!

The best scenes and moments are left untouched so you’ll have to watch the film on your own if you’re curious to and want to understand what the hell I mean from the above.

But here’s a couple of photos to brief you 🙂

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Toyin Ojih Odutola: When Legends Die

Toyin Ojih Odutola: When Legends Die, running until October 27, 2018 at Jack Shainman Gallery, 524 West 24th St.

Constantin Brancusi: A Vanguard Artist

Of Romania, Constantin Brancusi, born in 1876, sculpted, painted, and photographed throughout the duration of his artistic career. He is considered by some as the father of modern sculpture.

Brancusi worked primarily with 4 mediums in his sculpting practice: limestone, casted bronze, wood, and marble to construct highly symbolic forms of the things grounded by reality.

His works are true emblems of visual reduction.

On view at The Museum of Modern Art until February 18, 2019 although you won’t be missing out on much as I believe most if not all the works are part of MoMA’s private collection. 🙂

A bientôt!