Murphy Law: A Realist’s View of Life

Murphy's Law

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If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, at the worst possible time, all the time, all at once.
— Murphy’s Law


A Pessimistic View of Life?

Are you the type of person who feels like…

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, at the worst possible time, all of the time, without fail, when you least expect it?

If that sounds like you, then you are living under the influence of Murphy’s Law.

Many people will naturally interpret this law as a pessimistic view of life. In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Murphy’s Law is built upon the solid principles of forward thinking and preparing effective contingency plans that will help ward off possible setbacks and minimize the negative impact of the challenges that lay before you.

So who was Murphy? Is he a real person or just a figment of a cultural imagination?

In today’s discussion we will break down Murphy’s Law and twist it in a positive way that will allow us to take advantage of these laws to help better prepare for the unexpected setbacks, problems and challenges that life throws our way.

As you read these laws, stay alert to the possibilities and opportunities that they awaken within you while interacting with the external world.

The greater our capacity to think clearly about our circumstances, and spot things that otherwise we would’ve ignored, then the greater the likelihood that we can turn disaster into potential rewards that will serve us as we move forward into the future.


Anything Can Go Wrong!

Anything that can or cannot go wrong, will go wrong, and is your fault.

Taking personal responsibility for our lives and circumstances is one of the fundamental keys to success. We must own up to our mistakes and take the blame for our predicament no matter how unfortunate circumstances may have panned out. When we do this, we will be better able to foresee possible obstacles and challenges that lay ahead as we move towards the attainment of our goals and objectives.

Anything that you do or don’t expect will go wrong, and will be worse than expected.

We must always expect the unexpected, or at the very least prepare contingency plans for unfortunate circumstances, time delays, or for what seems to be nothing more than rotten bad luck.

If we are personally finding it difficult to expect the unexpected, then we would be wise to ask others for their opinions and perspectives. Sometimes the most unexpected people might be able to shed some light into the darkest corners of our world.

Anything that doesn’t go wrong, won’t last and creates even bigger problems.

The moment we feel that we have successfully avoided a catastrophe, is the moment that the whole world can cave in on us without a moment’s notice.

As an individual, we always have a very limited perspective of the impact that our behaviors, decisions and actions have on the world around us. What initially might seem like a gift, may in fact turn out to be your worst nightmare.

To avoid these circumstances, we must always be alert to the potential negative impact that supposedly positive decisions, behaviours and actions can have on others, circumstances and the world around us.

Anything that you try fixing will take longer than expected and cost more than you initially thought.

Whenever we undertake a task it is very easy to approach it from a limited perspective — meaning that we don’t have all the information that is required to get the job done to the best of our ability or to the standards that are expected. This essentially comes down to the questions we ask ourselves before the task is undertaken. The more thought-provoking the questions, the greater their capacity to expand our understanding of the situation, and the more likely we are to predict the potential time and cost of the tasks that we undertake throughout our day.

Anything left to itself will go from bad to worse.

How many times have you thought to yourself that…. if you maybe… possibly… ignore this problem… that it might just go away all by itself?

  • Maybe other people will take care of it for you?
  • Maybe circumstances will miraculously change?
  • Or maybe luck will favor the ignorant?

There are just too many “maybes” within this scenario. The bottom line is, that if you are not in direct control of something, then it is likely to get out of control very quickly and in unexpected ways. Consequently, in such instances it is best to resolve the problem as best you can, or at the very least keep the problem close to you in order to progressively influence it towards a satisfactory outcome over an extended period of time.

Anything worth doing has already been done.

We live in a world of ideas, of motivated, creative individuals who are progressively and rapidly moving the world forward technologically, entrepreneurially, physically and emotionally.

Have you ever considered that a great idea that you have today, may in fact be in the stages of development on the other side of the world? A wonderful thought that you have today may unknowingly be rewarding a 14 year old kid with financial abundance.

Don’t assume that your business idea is unique, or that it hasn’t been done before. Assume instead that it has been recycled over and over again, and that you must now twist it in such a creative, ingenious way that it will become far more than what it is today — beyond what you ever expected.

If you don’t stretch yourself and your imagination, you will never really know what you are capable of.


Nothing Ever Goes Right!

Nothing is as easy as it looks.

Under most circumstances, we don’t have all the required information on hand to clearly identify what is involved with completing a task or project successfully. The reason for this is that we either don’t have the experience, haven’t asked the right questions, or simply fail to grasp the complexity of the task at hand.

In order to avoid these pitfalls we would be wise to seek out relevant information, to ask others for clarification and assistance, and to question the things that we would normally deem to be irrelevant to the situation and task at hand.

Nothing is as worthwhile as it seems.

When our imaginations and emotions lock onto an object or opportunity, they become an all-consuming force that puts rose-colored glasses onto our eyes, and raises our expectations beyond the realities of life. In such instances we see things not as they are, but rather what we wish them to be. Yet, the reality of life is that things are not always as they seem, and what might at times seem like a golden opportunity, ends up being nothing more than mud in the hand.

Consequently we learn that opportunities are not always all that we imagine them to be, and certainly not what others make them out to be. And as a result we critically question and examine everything meticulously before jumping to unjustified conclusions about the circumstances surrounding our lives.

Nothing is ever perfect.

From our limited personal perspective it is easy to imagine that things are perfect. Yet, little do we realize that from another perspective there are real concerns and problems that we just don’t see because we fail to open ourselves to alternative views and angles of the situation or circumstance that we find ourselves in. What may initially seem as a flawless plan, can quickly turn on its head; and what might look fresh on the outside may in fact have been rotting away from the inside for days on end.

Unless we ask the right questions and become aware of the possibilities that nothing is ever perfect, then we will remain ignorant to the bacteria that is feeding off of our skin.

Nothing is created equal.

There is nothing equal in this world. People are not born equal, companies do not have equal opportunity, and nothing ever seems fair. They are the realities of life that we must accept and live with. Only through acceptance will we begin to understand how to take advantage of this law for our own personal benefit.

Nothing is created equal is in fact an effect of a cause that stems from the choices and decisions we make on a daily basis.

Nothing may be created equal, however the quality of our choices and daily decisions can and will level the playing field. Therefore don’t discount the effect that small choices can have on the scales that balance the opportunities and problems that confront you on a daily basis.

Nothing has a straightforward solution.

We as human beings are creatures of habit who look for the quickest possible path towards the destination we are aiming for. We therefore often jump to quick conclusions and assume that there is always a straightforward solution to our problems. In some instances this might be true, however in most cases we quickly underestimate what is required to overcome the obstacles and challenges that confront us, and as a result we wilt under the pressure of false expectations, and give-up hope before hope ever had a chance to force us to think critically and creatively about the problems that confront our lives.

If you always think that Nothing Ever Has a Straightforward Solution, then you will always discover creative pathways to the toughest challenges in your life.


Problems Always Exist!

Always smile because tomorrow will be worse.

It is said that the person who smiles first has the last laugh.

Life is in fact a journey of unexpected twists, of continuous problems and obstacles that divert us off the beaten track. The simple act of smiling will allow us to get through these challenges with a greater clarity of thought, and enable us to rise through the emotional setbacks that overwhelm the many who never see past the fog that blocks their view.

You are different. You understand that life is meant to test your willpower, to test your resolve and capacity to think under incredible amounts of emotional pressure. As a result you smile with a sparkle in your eye, fully knowing that you are ready for the worst that is yet to come.

Always several things will go wrong at the same and worst possible time.

It is said that the only certainties of life are death and taxes. Additionally, you can add to that list that life will always throw you a curve-ball when you least expect it — collapsing the domino tower you were building so meticulously for so many years. All that work for nothing, and now you must begin once again and build the tower from the bottom up.

To avoid these circumstances you must identify possible scenarios, minimize the possible side-effects and develop contingency plans if the worst case scenarios were to come to fruition today.

Always every solution breeds new problems.

The moment we think of a brilliant new idea that will finally resolve a problem, is the moment we become too emotionally involved within the circumstances, and therefore fail to critically examine the solution from a variety of angles and perspectives.

Being unable to fully grasp and understand the effects that a solution can have long-term, short-term, on us, the world and on our relationship with others, can in fact cause further unforeseeable problems. Ideally a solution must feel good, be good for us, good for others and serve the greater good. If it doesn’t then it will probably cause more problems than it is worth.

Always whatever you want you can’t have.

What we want we can’t have because “want” something is an act of desperation that stems from lack rather than from plenty. All of this comes back to the universal Law of Magnetic Attraction which shows us how it’s not so much the “wanting” that gets us what we want, but rather the intention behind the thought of “having” something that attracts into our lives the desires we would like to bring to fruition.

Always whatever you can have you don’t want.

What we want we can’t have, and yet what we have we don’t want… How does that work? If you know, please share within the comments!!! ;)

Always everything takes longer than expected.

It is said that time contracts and expands in accordance with our expectations x 2. What this means is that however long you expect something to take, it will often take at least twice as long to complete than you initially expected. This is due to a simple lack of experience and forward thinking that fails to take into account all the possible interconnecting pieces that culminate to form the end result that you are wanting to bring to fruition.

The solution lies in asking more effective questions, chunking down the task that you need to complete into distinctively small components, and preparing contingency plans for possible setbacks that may confront you along your journey.

Always everything goes wrong all at once.

There is always the possibility that things will go wrong all at once. As a result you must prepare the necessary resources, tools and information you will need in order to minimize or better yet, overcome the scenarios that could unfold.

If you fail to prepare, than you are planning to fail.

You will always find something in the last place you look.

If you always find something in the last place you look, then you might be better off to look for it beginning in the last place you would have decided to look in the first place. ;)

There is always another problem around the corner.

Let’s be honest and just get down to the hard truth here…

It is said that life is like a box of chocolates, and that you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Yes, there is some truth here, however it’s not entirely true. We actually do know what we are going to get. You see, what they don’t tell you is that every chocolate has a special caramel filling that’s enriched with a substance known as a problem/opportunity to grow and become more than what you are today. Additionally the problem provides you with an opportunity to expand your understanding of your world, to stretch your limits and test your resolve.

And when we finally eat that last piece of chocolate from that beautiful chocolate box of life, we smile, and grab another box out of the draw filled with further caramel fillings enriched with problems, obstacles, and challenges that make life well worth living.

Yes, there is always another problem hiding around every corner. However, it’s not about the problem, it’s rather what you do with it, how you approach it, what you learn from it, and what that problem makes of you. Nothing else matters in the end.


Whenever Something Can’t, it Will!

Whenever everything is going right, than something is wrong. Additionally, whenever things are going well you have overlooked something.

It is very easy for us to become somewhat complacent when things are progressing as we had planned and prepared for. We naturally relax, lay back and expect that nothing will change. Yet, little do we know, that beyond our awareness, yet still within our physical control, there is something stirring in the background. It is something that we don’t expect, something we actually might have overlooked. And it is this something that will throw you off balance when you least expect it.

The solution lies in developing thorough checklists that prepare you for the task at hand — making sure that you haven’t overlooked something that is critical to the project’s success. Additionally you should consider preparing a maintenance checklist that is ticked-off during the task or project and takes into account as many possible scenarios as you can think of that may require your attention.

In most cases that which we don’t expect can hurt us in the end. However, what we don’t expect, isn’t often something that we can’t influence or control if we expected it in the first place. It therefore all culminates around the idea of forward thinking and the planning and maintenance tactics you use before and throughout a task or project.

Whenever things seem too good to be true, they probably are.

People will always try and entice us with wonderful things. In fact, these people will make a great deal of effort to convince us that what they have is exactly what we need and will help us overcome all our problems and attain the life we desire to live. These are no doubt wonderful promises that at first seem too good to be true. However, when our emotions get involved within these kinds of interactions, funny things begin to happen and we naturally reject our critical thinking mind and jump into situations head first without a second thought.

In more cases than not, whatever seems too good to be true, is probably too good to be true, and may in fact cause you more problems than it is worth or at the very least leave you disappointed that you wasted your time in the first place. In such scenarios, do your research, speak with a variety of people, seek different opinions and perspectives, and above all else, make an educated decision.

Whenever something was supposed to happen, it won’t.

Do you tend to worry and stress all of the time? Maybe you are one of those people who always expect the worst from every situation? Well, how about you begin expecting in advance that something you expect may not in fact turn out how you expect it. Wouldn’t that put an interesting twist on your worries and concerns?

The same is obviously true in reverse. Many times when we expect positive outcomes, they will tend not to come to fruition in the capacity we expected them. This simply means that the timing wasn’t right, that you overlooked something, or simply missed the train as it passed through the train station. Either way it all comes down to good planning and meticulous focus and concentration.

Whenever life seems at its worst, it gets worse.

Imagine yourself paddling vigorously down a river. You’re bobbing up and down, almost crashing into rocks, and scraping through by the skin of your neck. “This is really tough work” you think to yourself, and you can’t imagine it could get any worse, when all of a sudden you spot a waterfall in front of you, and a few moments later fall over the edge.

This is a perfect example of life getting worse with every stroke.

You literally crash to the very bottom of the waterfall, yet miraculously survive the fall. You think that it just couldn’t get any worse, when all of a sudden your paddle whacks you in the head with a big thump!.

At this stage most people give up, feel sorry for themselves and don’t try anything meaningful ever again. However, little do they realize that they have fallen into another river — a new beginning of sorts that is calm, serene and flowing gracefully through a beautiful tropical forest filled with wonderful riches and opportunities. If they only realized that life could be this way, than it most certainly could.

Whenever life seems at its worst, it does get worse — that is unless you are able to see beyond the fog and down the corridor where opportunities await.

Whenever you are good at something, you will always screw it up.

Complacency is the mother of all problems. Whenever we believe that we are good at something we naturally relax and happen to overlook critical aspects that need our constant attention and energy. And as a result we screw things up and end up with problems that we never knew existed.

To overcome such scenarios we must approach each task as a novice — a beginner of sorts who has many unanswered questions. From here we must develop a thorough checklist and plan that we can follow meticulously during the project or task to ensure that nothing gets overlooked or accidentally ignored. In this way we will minimize screw-ups and maximize our skills and abilities.

Whenever you try pleasing everyone, nobody will like you.

Everyone is different and unique in their own right. We have all experienced a different psychological path through life, and as a result we have developed a variety of ways of interpreting our world. Consequently we also developed unique ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ which means that we won’t always like what others like and vice-versa. Additionally, this means that you cannot please everyone all of the time, and when you try pleasing everyone you will naturally end up pleasing no-one because there is no middle line — there is no balance.

Life is simply black and white, and the middle line is only an illusion that we think exists. Therefore your solution is to do your very best to please the majority of the population with what you have to offer, and throw everybody else out of the picture.


Everyone is Better than You!

Everyone has dreams that will never be fulfilled.

Humans are natural dreamers. We dream of a better life, we dream of perfect health, we dream of more wealth, and above-all-else we dream of the experience of pleasure over pain. However, dreams are exactly what they are… just dreams. They are not goals, objectives, tasks, projects, etc. They are just dreams, resting within our heads making us feel all wonderful, cozy and tingly inside. :)

Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to have big dreams, however dreams will never become reality unless we turn them into goals, objectives, tasks and projects. Therefore if right now you have a dream that is giving you wonderful tingly feelings all over your body, than the truth of the matter is that it will never become your reality unless it gets taken out of the realm of fantasy and into the realm of clarity and action.

Everyone has tasks that will never get done.

Let us be honest with ourselves… it is not possible to complete everything when you have 50 things on your to-do list.

Given the unpredictable nature of human beings, the unexpected realities of life, and the undeniable effect that a chain reaction of circumstances can have on your time, energy, money and resources — you soon quickly realize that you have tasks that will just never get done.

This is a simple case of overwhelming ourselves with too much busyness and not enough substance.

The solution is simple. Prepare a list of the five to seven most important things that you must do today, and only do those things. Don’t worry about the other tasks. Just get the big rocks out of the way and life will provide you with the oxygen you need to keep moving forward. Additionally, it will be worth your while to learn to schedule your time sensibly, to plan for interruptions, and create contingency plans for unexpected emergencies. Boosting your productivity should be your number one objective.

Everyone has goals that are beyond them.

Having big goals is a wonderful thing. However, most of us will never attain these goals because we simply fail to realize that we need to first build steps to reach them.

Just imagine having a big goal dangling up in the sky 50 meters over your head. How in the world will you reach this goal? How will you soar up into the sky and take possession of this object?

The key lies in setting consistent objectives that will enable you to build ever bigger stepping stones helping you to climb progressively higher towards your goal.

Objectives are like mini-goals that you work on to achieve on a daily and weekly basis. Once an objective has been attained, you effectively take one step closer towards your outcome and the attainment of your goal.

Everyone has plans that are never successful.

Planning is an art form. If you rush your plans, then you could very well be creating more problems than is worth your time, energy, effort and money. And for that very reason everyone has plans that are never successful.

The solution lies in undertaking a meticulous planning regime where you take into account all possible scenarios you have to deal with, resources you have on hand, and outcomes that you might be confronted with if things don’t go as expected. Only by undertaking a process such as this will you successfully develop the confidence to see your plans through to the very end.

Everyone is better than you at something.

On the surface this may indeed seem rather depressing. However, below the surface this is an opportunity in disguise.

Life is all about relationship building. Additionally it is about leveraging other people’s skills, talents and abilities in order to create win/win scenarios that will enable the both of you to benefit from the relationship. You must therefore become aware of other people’s abilities and cultivate the forward thinking skills to identify how their abilities can be best used to help you get what you want most in life.

In the end, nobody can do everything by themselves. That’s why we build companies, organizations, clubs and teams. Everything is a team effort. And leveraging off other people’s skills, talents and abilities is just another interpretation of Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest.

Everyone believes in something false and unproven.

Our beliefs are deeply ingrained into our psyche from the youngest age. We developed these beliefs based on our understanding of the world at the time. Whether our understanding was correct or false did not matter. All that mattered was that it made sense to us, and as a result we came to believe what we believe today — whether true or false.

There are many false beliefs that are rather insignificant and can’t really hurt us psychologically. However, there are other beliefs that are malicious and may very well be influencing every fragment of our lives in very negative and unpredictable ways.

We must learn to identify these false beliefs, and then transform them into new and empowering convictions that will move us forward in rapid succession towards our objectives.

Everyone always knows what you don’t.

Have you ever stepped out of the bathroom and wondered why others were smirking at you??? Well… if you are a female, then you probably tucked your skirt into your underwear, and if you are a male, your zipper is probably undone. ;)

Since everyone always know what you don’t, doesn’t it make sense to pick their brains from time-to-time and learn from their experience? Life could become so much simpler and so much more fun. :)


Final Thoughts

Murphy’s Law is a law about life, about the importance of forward thinking, and about shifting our perspective about the ‘so called’ negative circumstances that life throws our way over and over again.

From another angle, Murphy’s Law is about spotting the opportunities, and the seeds within every problem that we must cultivate and grow into positive outcomes every time we take up a new challenge. And finally, Murphy’s Law is about you; about your approach to life, and about turning the so called ‘lemons’ into a refreshing glasses of lemonade. In the end, it’s up to you. Murphy’s Law can either work for you or against you.

Which path do you choose?

To learn more about Murphy’s Laws please visit the Murphy’s Laws Site which showcases many variations of Murphy’s Law.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any further queries or questions, or would like to share your experiences about this topic, than please do so in the comments section below.


Time to Assimilate these Concepts

Murphy's Law

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8 Responses to “Murphy Law: A Realist’s View of Life”

  1. JamesD June 11, 2009 at 11:16 pm #

    Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting

  2. Darlene Siddons June 12, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    wow…great article, very interesting and covered a lot of information, i have used vision mapping for years now and it works great in all areas of my life, here is a free stress reduction video i produced, and i can make a personalized version for others… enjoy!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBbcLnLj8J8

    darlene siddons
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    Darlene Siddonss last blog post..Vision Mapping for Effortless Lifestyle Balancing

  3. Omar June 30, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Very thorough article. Many people fall apart when they’re face with adversity and challenges. A positive mental attitude is needed. Sometimes the pressure and obstacles are so intense that you wonder how will I get out of this. But God is good and he helps us in our time of need. Extraordinary article Adam!

    • Adam Sicinski June 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Omar.

      When life is great, it’s so easy to be happy and feel positive about the future. However, when obstacles begin overwhelming us and prevent us from moving forward, consequently it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves and see the future as being bleak and full of disappointment. Yet, that’s life, and it’s how we deal with the challenges that life throws our way that essentially determines how we live and what we have in the future.

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