What’s Wrong with Murphy’s Law

In 1949, Captain Murphy gave us his “law:”

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong

Since then, a number of variants and other “laws” have emerged:

A dropped piece of bread will always land butter side down.

The line next to you will move more quickly than the one you’re in.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Success always occurs in private, and failure in full public view.

All things being equal, you lose.

As soon as you mention something…if it’s good, it stops; if it’s bad, it happens.

Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

A shortcut is the longest distance between two points.

There’s no time like the present to procrastinate.

What’s wrong with Murphy’s Law, and these other variants? On the surface, nothing. They each have kernels of truth and wisdom.

But, they ignore other possibilities:

Everything that can work, will work. Consider how many things worked as they were supposed to today. You probably don’t remember them, since they worked so well.

How often do you really drop a piece of bread?

Sure, your line may move slower today. That won’t be the case every time. If we consider our neighbor’s perspective, they’re enjoying the fact that their line is moving faster today than your line. Isn’t it nice to see someone have a small victory?

We all have more than a hammer. Remembering to look in our toolbox from time to time and dust off our other tools is the key to success.

Our successes and failures are always personal first.  The people who are willing to share in both are what matters.  The size of the audience doesn’t.

All things are rarely equal.  The level of equality at the start has little to do with whether you win or lose.

We get the things we visualize the most.  We have more control over what happens than we realize.

Some of the best discoveries came from people asking the dumb question, or looking at something with “untrained” eyes. The most potent resource in a company is the new employee who “doesn’t know anything.”

Unexplored shortcuts take you nowhere. Some shortcuts lead to entirely new destinations that you never thought possible.

Now is the perfect time to begin, or begin again.

The only thing we control in life is our attitude. Our attitude has more impact on our lives than any of these “laws.”

Author: Bob Dailey

Born and raised in Southern California. Graduated from (and met my future wife at) Cal Poly Pomona, in 1988. Married to Janet for almost 35 years. Father of two: Julianne and Jennifer. Grandfather of 7. Held many positions in small, medium, and large companies. Trail runner, competitive stair climber, backpacker, camper, off-roader, world traveler, sometimes writer.

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