The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.
Be sure to read the whole article, which describes this tremendous idea in more detail and is a must-read, imo. The original paper can be found here: Statistical physics of self-replication.
I suppose being conscious/aware is also a good way to dissipate energy.