The Virtue of Order: Become a Master of the Universe

“The world is never static. It changes constantly and this causes fear, pain, anger, anxiety – all of the emotions that we want to keep away from our lives.” Plato’s famous quote nicely summarizes how the authors explain a complex approach towards life: go with it. There are no rules in life; everything has its time and place- just make sure you don’t rush things too much…

The “virtue of orderliness” is a concept that has been present for centuries. It’s the idea that there should be a sense of order in everything. It’s this idea that makes the world go round.

He-man and masters of the universe poster.

This is the third in a series of blogs discussing Benjamin Franklin’s virtuous lifestyle.

Allow all of your items to have their proper placements, and each aspect of your company to have its own time.

Franklin picked Order as his third virtue because it “would provide [him] with more time to devote to [his] pursuits and studies.” Franklin realized that if he wanted to accomplish big goals in his life, he needed to make sure that little details didn’t get in the way.


It’s been over three centuries since ancient Ben started out to achieve the virtue of Order. Americans’ lives now are considerably busier and more distracted than Ben could have anticipated. People seek for peace and calm in their lives through organizing their lives. A whole business has risen up to assist them in doing so. Books, blogs, journals, and consultants all provide tips on how to declutter your home. Despite the available facts, many still struggle to live up to this value. Why?

Why is it so difficult to make your bed on a daily basis?

It’s a regular occurrence. When a guy wakes up, he learns his life is in shambles. His bed is never made, papers and periodicals are strewn around, and soiled clothing are strewn over the floor.

So, this guy makes the decision to organize his life. He makes it a point to make his bed every morning, purchase an inbox for all of his documents, and put his clothing in the hamper. For about a week, everything goes swimmingly, but he quickly slips off the wagon. His home starts to resemble the state it was in before he started his new routine.

It almost feels useless to make your bed and keep your life in order every day. In some ways, it is. When you attempt to arrange anything, you’re up against entropy, a natural force that governs the whole universe.

To comprehend what we’re up against, a basic understanding of thermodynamics is required. Franklin, I believe, would appreciate this scientific approach to comprehending order.

(Please don’t tell me that I left anything out since this is a very brief explanation.) I’m sure I did.)

The first law of thermodynamics states that the universe has a finite quantity of energy. Energy may be transformed into several forms, but it can never be generated or destroyed.

Although energy cannot be destroyed, it is of little value to anybody if it is incapable of producing results. Unfortunately, all energy changes, according to the second law of thermodynamics, reduce the amount of useful energy in the universe.

Consider a tiny package of magnets. When the little magnets are arranged in the same direction, they may attract other metal objects as a group. Individual magnets neutralize each other’s influence and are unable to do effective work if they are not aligned in the same direction. The same is true of energy: it is valuable when it is organized, but its benefits cancel each other out when it is chaotic.


The absence of order in the energy is measured by entropy.

Entropy is a measure of unpredictability or “disorganization,” in other words. Unfortunately, when left to its own devices, every system prefers to live in a low-energy, high-entropy state. The route of least resistance is followed by everything. This encompasses the whole cosmos. Since its inception, the universe’s energy has been more disordered, and it will continue to do so until there is no longer any order.

You now have a better understanding of why keeping your life structured is so difficult. Have you ever dropped anything on the floor and felt an almost physical force tugging you away from picking it up? This is the entropy’s pull.

Become the Universe’s Master.

You may use the principles of thermodynamics to your advantage and become a master of the universe if you understand them.

Some people may give up trying to organize their life because they believe the cosmos will ultimately crumble into pure unpredictability. But, before you quit up, realize that entropy may be countered in two ways. The first is chance, although a well-ordered arrangement by chance is very impossible (have you ever awoken to a miraculously clean room?).

Another option for overcoming entropy is to improve the system’s order. The difficulty with this strategy is that when a person attempts to arrange the system, he is performing labor – and so the system’s entropy drop would be counterbalanced by a significant rise in the entropy of that individual. As a result, entropy would rise overall.

This is why the majority of people’s organizational plans never work. There are hundreds of books and websites out there that will teach you how to get rid of clutter and organize your life. Many people recommend devising a complex system to keep you on track. These mechanisms may significantly reduce entropy in your own organization, but they need a significant amount of time and effort to set up and maintain. As a result, while you reduce entropy in one aspect of your life, you raise it in another. This is why many individuals struggle to persist with complicated organizational structures. The individual throws in the towel when the overall amount of entropy and chaos grows.

There is, however, a little loophole. Returning to the magnets as an example:

Consider that in order to utilize them, you’ll need to relocate them to a new box. You could place some of them in the new box the incorrect way around when relocating them, reducing the useable energy. Of course, the more slowly and thoroughly you do the transaction, the less errors you will make. The same is true for energy: unless the rate of change is infinitesimally tiny, the entropy in the system constantly grows.

As a result, you must make the smallest modifications feasible to prevent the energy imbalance generated by attempting to manage your life using an intricate system. In this approach, you avoid increasing entropy in other parts of your life.


The key to understanding the cosmos

But, can such little adjustments really make a difference? Yes, they are capable.

The key to bringing order to your life and combating entropy while only increasing it little in other areas is to DO IT NOW. There was no filing system, no in-boxes, and no index cards. Do it right now. Turn around and make it once you get out of bed. Take action on a piece of mail as soon as you get it. Wipe out the kitchen as soon as you’ve finished eating. If you drop a sock on the floor, don’t hesitate to pick it up. It’s not as simple as it seems since entropy will tug you to disregard each piece of disarray that comes in your life. You must teach yourself to repeat the slogan “do it now!” and to persevere in the face of adversity.

If you discover that you are unable to perform anything right now, make a note of it in a basic notepad. It’s not necessary to create a complex capturing and filing system. Simply jot it down so you don’t forget it.

But what about jobs that involve numerous phases and can’t be completed right away? You’ll ultimately find them. They’re large enough that you won’t forget to do them, and you won’t need a system to complete them. Meanwhile, by organizing your house, vehicle, and office, you’re creating an atmosphere in which larger chores will flow much more smoothly.

Men like Theodore Roosevelt achieved tremendous things without an intricate method long before the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Getting Things Done.” You also don’t need to follow any wacky routine. To become a Master of the Universe, you just need to know three words: do it now, dammit. Four words, to be exact.


The rest of the 13 Virtues Series may be found here.

  1. Temperance
  2. Silence
  3. Order
  4. Resolution
  5. Industry
  6. Sincerity
  7. Justice
  8. Moderation
  9. Cleanliness
  10. Tranquility
  11. Chastity
  12. Humility

The “frugality virtue” is the act of being content with what you have, and not wanting more. It’s a way to live life without wasting your time or energy on material possessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is order the most important virtue?

A: Orders are important because they keep everything organized. Without order, chaos would ensue and no one would know what to do.

What did Franklin mean by order?

A: He meant, I want to order some coffee.

What was Franklins 13 virtues?

A: Franklins 13 virtues were a list of thirteen statements that he believed could help people lead happier and more fulfilling lives. They are as follows:

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