While you sleep, a mysterious force is at work in your home. You find traces of its sabotage everywhere. Favorite dishes, left socks and crucial papers are suddenly gone. Tools slip out of their proper places. Dust bunnies repopulate. The evidence of your tidily organized mind miraculously unravels, as if someone had found the single thread that holds together the knitted fabric of your life and, when your back was turned, silently given it a good yank.

The mysterious intruder is the force of entropy: the tendency of all systems to come apart.

Buckminster Fuller thought a good deal about entropy. Perhaps this came from his early years, when he worked as the guy who fixed machines when they broke down. Perhaps it was the imprint of tragedy: as a young man, he nearly committed suicide after his infant daughter died of influenza. What could be more bitter evidence of entropy than the death of the innocent young?

Bucky postulated an opposing and complementary force, which he dubbed syntropy: a force that, rather than toppling the fruits of creativity and pulling things apart, winds things together into higher levels of order.

Bucky held syntropy as the prime function of the human being. He loved to point out that the word “consider” comes from the Latin, meaning “to put stars together”—to constellate. He saw our role in the universe as being considerers, the representatives of syntropy on earth.

You can see the forces of entropy and syntropy at work in your business. In your volunteer army, your herd of cats, the tendency towards dissolution is always lurking close at hand. Distraction; disappointment; attrition; loss of faith and lack of follow-through. Network marketers feel entropy breathing down our necks.

In your business, what represents the force of syntropy?

A dream. A compelling “why.” Clear goals. Powerful intentions. Inspiration. A great story. Powerful communication. Genuine caring.

This applies to money, too. The truth about your money is that, like your health, it does not take care of itself. Left to its own, it has an entropic drift. It’s up to you to supply the syntropy.

It’s harder for the young to grasp this, because when you’re young, you’re brimming over with syntropy, which is why you bounce back from illnesses and exhaustion as if by the click of a mouse. As Terry Savage points out, we have an entire generation (78 million strong) just starting to wake up to the entropic facts of financial life. Creating your own personal 401(k) is exercising financial syntropy. So is setting up an automatic monthly draft from checking to savings.

The word “literacy” conveys the sense of being in your head. But genuine financial literacy is not about knowing; it’s about doing. Find your financial syntropy, then do it.

JOHN DAVID MANN is Consulting Editor to Networking Times.