Similar to you, I listen to a ton of music. While I am fond of death metal, a good song is a good song no matter what genre of music.

One of my all time favorites is the Johnny Cash version of “Hurt.”

What strikes me about this song is that it is far from perfect.

You can hear his voice crack a bit, a few notes are flat, it sounds strained at times. . . yet, it is so brilliantly amazing that I find myself listening to it over and over and over.

It is far from perfect; yet brilliant.

Auto-tune and other software can make your neighbor’s screeching cat sound good.

I find myself being repelled by the use of Auto-tune.

Why do people pay for live concerts, especially the audio only format?

Live sound will never mirror studio sound, so why pay for it? By definition, it is not as clear and much more imperfect.

I believe it is the micro imperfections that make well performed live music amazing.

This idea shows up in nature (1-6). Hyper symmetry and perfection is not well rewarded. What we see are nonlinear repeating patterns like fractals.

Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. The branching pattern on a tree and the “tubes” in your lungs are fractals.

Crushing fine scale variability to create “perfection” does not end well (7).

Heart rate variability (HRV) is literally a measure of tiny changes from one beat of your heart to the next. That is a good thing.

A more metronome beat of your heart is reflected by a loss of HRV which puts you closer to pushing up daisies via massively upregulated sympathetic tone.

In English – tiny imperfections are the ideal system.

Controllable micro imperfections are the goal.

Want to be more robust? Allow these imperfections and even work to create them in your life.

Yes, going to bed early most times is a great idea; however, if a good death metal show comes to town I will be there, despite a later bedtime.

Yes, eating more protein, micronutrition (no . . . veggies won’t kill you), real foods will help you reach your goals faster; however, if a tasty homemade pastry ends up in front of me, I will eat it.

Yes, you need to get to the gym and put in the work; however, subbing in tricep pressdowns instead of skull crushers because TricepTom is still on the bench, may actually be better. And your elbows will thank you.

Note- if you have not been to the gym since an orange man with a dead ferret on his head was in office, get to the gym first. Don’t worry about small changes before you are doing the main items.

Once you are crushing the top items, allow for some fine scale variability.

Perfection at the cost of fine scale variability is not ideal.

Some imperfections are good for the system.

Make sure to account for them.


1) Michael J Case and David L Peterson “Fine-scale variability in growth–climate relationships of Douglas-fir, North Cascade Range, Washington” Canadian Journal of Forest Research November 2005

2)Berg, Larry & Long, Charles & Kassianov, Evgueni & Chand, D. & Tai, Sheng-Lun & Yang, Zhao & Riihimaki, Laura & Biraud, S. & Tagestad, Jerry & Matthews, Alyssa & Mendoza, Albert & Mei, Fan & Tomlinson, Jason & Fast, Jerome. (2020). Fine Scale Variability of Observed and Simulated Surface Albedo Over the Southern Great Plains. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 125. 10.1029/2019JD030559.

3) Wilson K, Lance M, Jeffries S, Acevedo-Gutiérrez A. Fine-scale variability in harbor seal foraging behavior. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 9;9(4):e92838. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092838. PMID: 24717815; PMCID: PMC3981695.

4) Roach DE, Sheldon RS. Information scaling properties of heart rate variability. Am J Physiol. 1998 Jun;274(6):H1970-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1998.274.6.H1970. PMID: 9841524.

5) Diffenbaugh NS, Pal JS, Trapp RJ, Giorgi F. Fine-scale processes regulate the response of extreme events to global climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Nov 1;102(44):15774-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0506042102. Epub 2005 Oct 19. PMID: 16236722; PMCID: PMC1276070.

6) Shaffer F, Meehan ZM. A Practical Guide to Resonance Frequency Assessment for Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback. Front Neurosci. 2020 Oct 8;14:570400. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.570400. Erratum in: Front Neurosci. 2020 Dec 01;14:627512. PMID: 33117119; PMCID: PMC7578229.

7) “Fine scale variability across physiology systems” PhD Thesis, University of Minnesota, Nelson, MT 2014.