Expecting the Unexpected

The Murphy Law

In its simplest form, Murphy's law states that 'If something can go wrong, it will,’ ‘Nothing is as easy as it looks’ and ‘Everything takes longer than you think.’

But who even is this guy Murphy and how does murphy’s law work?

Well, believe it or not, Edward Murphy was a real guy. He was an American aerospace engineer working on safety-critical systems. And since his job pretty much required him to always assume the worst-case scenarios in an attempt to avoid them, he managed to come up with the 'Murphy's law.'

How Does Murphy’s Law Work?

If you’re wondering how Murphy’s law works, it basically suggests that if things can go wrong, they almost inevitably will. What’s more, if there is a specific time where the impact of said ‘wrong’ could be more damaging, it will most likely happen at that exact time. If someone can potentially get it wrong, they surely will. Moreover, if there are several possibilities of things going wrong, the one that you least want to happen is the very one that will occur. Not to mention, if you think that you can pre-determine all the possible ways something can go wrong- think again because it will most likely go wrong in another unanticipated way.

Also, nothing is as easy as it looks. Things will always be easier when you don’t have to do them. You see, it’s easy to belittle other people's efforts, but you can't really judge them until you are in their shoes and you truly get a taste of what they’ve been going through. Thus, you need to do things for yourself to realize how much time and effort truly goes into a seemingly mundane task.

In addition to this, understand that everything takes longer than you think because, truth be told, there's always bound to be some unexpected challenge that will slow you down. Maybe it’s a system crash, an accident, or perhaps even just losing your pen that can stop you from working. You see, when you estimated the time for a particular task, you couldn’t possibly foresee the problems you would encounter along the way. Because like we said, things are sure to go wrong in exactly the way you had never anticipated, which also happens to be the worst of ways, by the way. But that's just a thing nature does, you know. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Maybe it’s a way to mold you into the person you are destined to be, or perhaps it's just how things work- plain and not-so-simple. Besides, it will probably be boring if you always know what to expect, and life is anything but boring.

Examples of Murphy’s Law

At first glance, Murphy's law can seem made up, but by considering a few murphy's law examples, we can prove that it’s the real deal.

Say, have you ever been to a grocery store and noticed how your lane is somehow the slowest? But then you switch lanes, and your new lane decides to now become the slowest. And try changing all you want, but we can almost guarantee that you will have to go through the slowest lane, at any rate.

Have you ever missed a small piece or part of something and kept it until you found the missing piece? And then, right after you threw it out, you found said missing piece.

Have you ever waited patiently for a package or delivery all day and it decides to arrive the moment you set foot in the shower?

Ugh- we know the feeling. You see, somehow, nature favors that one hidden flaw. But don’t worry because you’re not the only one. Stuff like this happens to all of us. Why, you ask? Well, the only sound explanation is Murphy’s law- if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Over time, Murphy’s law has been extended to include different industries, so let’s see how murphy’s law works in various sectors to understand the whole thing better.

Murphy’s Law Explained on Medicine

Just like the rest of us, murphy’s law applies to medicine as well. If you’ve had some experience working in this industry, you'll know that all the patients will usually crash simultaneously, which is also the time when the computer system crashes- you know so that you can have total chaos. Also, sick patients are not as persistent as healthy patients when it comes to seeing the doctor. In fact, healthier patients are keener to get it done and over with, even though they don’t need immediate attention. And if there’s a baby, chances are they will pee as soon as their diaper is removed because, well, why not?

Sadly, patients who need to be admitted have pets at home that they need to tend to, while patients that don't need to be admitted have no family to care for them at home. Plus, your patient will need you the minute you leave the room. And of course, the one mistake you make in years will get you sued because, well, as they say, if things can go wrong, they will.

Murphy’s Law Explained on Education

Students know all too well about Murphy’s law because we can find close to countless Murphy’s law examples in their lives. The night before a big test, one of the other instructors is almost sure to give you a long-ass assignment to stress you out. Plus, they think you have nothing to do except study for their course, and there's nothing you can do or say to change their mind. Additionally, if you are given an open-book exam, you will probably forget to bring the book. And if you have a take-home test, you will forget where you live. When reviewing your notes before the exam, the most important ones are the ones that you can’t actually read because they’re illegible. The exam paper is also always easier when you don’t have to take it. But no matter how much you study, there will always be that one question you can’t answer. Your calculator that lasted the entire semester will also run out of battery during the most critical test/exam of the whole semester. Moreover, the teacher's clock is ahead of time, which means that you are late. Your grade or score is inversely proportional to how much you studied- the more you studied, the lower you are likely to get, but don't think you can get away with not studying at all- no siree!

If your teacher thinks a particular subject is interesting, it's probably not. Also, if you think you were smart enough to work something out efficiently, guess what? Your classmates probably worked it out before you and in a much better way. Plus, of course, when you decide to sit down and finally study is when the whole universe conspires to ensure that you can’t. And best of all, once you finally have your degree, you have moved from a state of cocksure ignorance to one of thoughtful uncertainty- and honestly, that’s got to be better somehow, right?

However, teachers don’t have it easy either. You see, students who get good grades get them because they work hard, but students who fail do so because of the teacher. And while good students move away too often, new students come from schools that don’t teach anything. Plus, if you think you can enjoy a field trip, think again because one of the kids will most definitely get injured. And though you think you’ve had to deal with a lot of crazy stuff being a teacher and all, disaster will only strike when your boss is observing you!

Murphy’s Law Explained on Experience

Murphy’s law explained through the lens of experience is pretty great because experience in itself is one of the best teachers, though it comes at a price. And that too, right after you need it. You see, the exam comes before the experience. Luckily though, at least you’ll be able to recognize your mistakes each time you repeat them- all thanks to experience! Congratulations, you are now one step closer to your next mistake. What’s funny is that mistakes are not really repeated too often unless they are absolutely 100% serious. But let’s face it, if you always knew what you were doing, you would probably be bored, right? But no, being bored does not imply that you know what you’re doing. Nevertheless, who knows, maybe you’ll learn to just laugh it off someday.

Murphy’s Law Explained on Cleanliness & Organization

Murphy’s law explained in terms of cleanliness indicates that things left to themselves really do get worse- just like those shelves you dusted yesterday, but they were quick to get dirty again so you can clean them again. Not to mention, as soon as you get a bathroom hook, it’s going to reach maximum capacity immediately. Your fresh shirt and tie will attract all the stains they can manage, and no, there’s nothing you can do to stop it; disaster is but inevitable. And if you think that’s unfair, consider this example of murphy's law- a barrel of sewage with a spoonful of wine is just sewage, but a barrel of wine with a spoonful of sewage is also just sewage. And that is precisely how we reach our conclusion- cleanliness is next to impossible.

Murphy’s Law Explained on Politics

Did you know that the more heavily a man should be taxed, the easier it is for them to avoid it altogether? And any law with more than fifty words probably has a loophole or two to facilitate people of power and wealth. So, if you respect the law, you should probably not watch how they were formulated. When it comes to politics, more often than not, politicians will preach what is popular, even though it might be wrong. As you see, the number one rule in politics is that you can be wrong, but you can never be in doubt.

How to Apply the Murphy Law?

Okay, so from the above Murphy’s law examples, you can see that it has found its way to almost all industries and sectors; hence you need to maybe find a way to overcome it. Because let's face it, if things can potentially go wrong, it's best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario or expect the unexpected so that you will not be unsettled by the outcomes that follow the event. And if nothing is as easy as it looks, you should remember that experience comes after the exam and not the other way around. Additionally, since everything takes longer than you think, maybe you should start well in advance to avoid any mishaps.

The point is, life always takes an unexpected turn, but that doesn't mean you have to lose control of the wheel or even your sanity. You just need to understand that things will not always go as planned, and that's okay. You are now wiser and much more mature, which means that you can make better mistakes, but hey, that's what life is all about!

What’s the Takeaway?

Murphy’s law might seem like a pessimistic approach to life, but it's actually quite the opposite because, you see, when things are bound to get crazy one way or the other, you’ll understand that it’s okay to fail. You’re not the only one. You need to take it easy because if there’s nothing you can do to stop it, you don’t have to worry about it. Remember that stress will not solve any of your problems, though the pressure might end up making things worse.

Remember that every solution breeds a whole new set of problems, and so long as you’re living and breathing, you will have to face new challenges and obstacles because that’s just something that comes with being alive. Nothing is easy, but who wants nothing? As the murphy law emphasizes, if things can go wrong, they will, but bad breath is still better than no breath, so just be thankful that you're alive and work on taking life in sips, not gulps.

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