The Law popular as the adage, “Anything that can go wrong, will” is what pop culture refers to as Murphy’s Law. However, it is a highly changed version of the original phrase by Edward A. Murphy, Jr. who was working for USAF back in the ‘40s.
He was testing the effects of speed on the human body through accelerometers, and on a particular day, 16 accelerometers had to be glued to a subject. The person gluing the accelerometers could either do it in the right way or the wrong way and as you would have guessed by now, he did it the wrong way. All 16 of them.
The catastrophe of this experiment prompted Murphy to say that “If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.”
The basis for Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law inherently counts on the ingenious of fools. That is, it accepts the fact that things can take a turn for the worst at the worst of times possible.
If something can be done in a wrong way, someone will eventually find a way to do it, no matter how easy it is to do that thing the right way.
The Laws that derive from the Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law has been made specific to the certain phenomenon in business and industry. The fact that the presentation for the new project will be corrupted on the disk it is stored on is a manifestation of Murphy’s Law. Machinery breaking down while working on the last process of a production line is a reality.
Spilling coffee on that tidy suit during breakfast on the day of a business meeting. The tire being flat as you leave the house and reach the car on the same day. The car breaking down in the middle of traffic after you’ve left for the meeting. These are all things that happen to businessmen and businesses on a regular basis. They are not expected, or wanted but happen regardless. This is Murphy’s Law in action.
The benefits of understanding Murphy’s Law
In business and corporate environments as well as Industries, Murphy’s Law should be given its due importance to help us get the least damage out of the unexpected. It basically helps us prepare for a catastrophe and plan for it in advance.
Improvisation is an important equipment in dealing with the consequences that come when Murphy’s Law proves itself in action. A machine may fail during an important process? Get a mechanic at the workplace. The mechanic may have called in sick on the day of the breakdown? Hire two of them.
Though Murphy’s Law says that things go from bad to worse, it also helps us take notice of the unlikely things that can burn down the house. By doing that, we can be prepared to deal with it. But even then, you might say that if you prepare for four eventualities, a fifth will appear that you are unprepared for. Remember that Murphy’s Law applies to itself as well, and takes days off. Leaving you with a peaceful day at the office.
In short, Murphy’s Law, without the obsession for it and the negative psychology that it engages, can be an effective tool. To plan for unexpected events at unexpected times. To expect the unexpected and be prepared for it. Make two copies of that presentation. Get that spare checked from time to time. Plan for the things that can do the most damage to your business but are least likely to happen.
Make contingency plans for a failure in the works. Spread your stock investments in different market segments. Or better yet, be an optimist sometimes.