How Murphy’s Law Relates to Personal Growth

Have you been kicked in the ass by Murphy’s Law? 

That’s a dumb question.

Of course you have – the law wouldn’t exist otherwise. Merriam-Webster defines it as, “an observation: anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” 

Want to go for an afternoon hike? I hope you enjoy an unexpected thunderstorm. 

Need to shower before your morning Zoom meeting with the team? Sorry, maintenance shut off the water in your apartment until 3PM. 

Or how about a global pandemic? 🤷‍♂️

I think you get the point: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. 

But aside from the general definition, what do you actually know about Murphy’s Law? Better yet, did you know it can be used to your advantage

Let me add a little context. 

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about neuroscience as it relates to personal growth, productivity, and developing or breaking habits. Working from home demands strict focus and a lot of self-control, so it’s important for me to create an environment (internally and externally) to facilitate that behaviour. 

What I’m learning and find most interesting is the ratio between success and failure can be influenced quite ‘easily’ – by a number of variables, too. 

This means we have the ability to skew the odds in our favour with a few simple actions. Which got me thinking about Murphy’s Law and how it relates to self-improvement and professional development. 

In the end, it boils down to probability. So, if anything that can go wrong will go wrong, Murphy’s Law also means anything that can go right will go right. 

As long as we tweak the ratio and tip the scales in the right direction.

Photo by Collins Lesulie

May the odds be ever in your favour

Murphy’s Law originates from a real man, Edward J. Murphy; he was a Major in the U.S. Air Force during the 1940s who specialized in development engineering. 

Edward was often faced with scenarios that didn’t quite go as planned. 

Given his team were “breaking new ground,” the tried-and-tested techniques used by the military at the time no longer applied. Some believe this later led to the Performance Management application of Murphy’s Law as a successful business theory.  

It’s an interesting story. If you want a deeper dive, click the link above. 

Here’s the point 👉 we can control some things but not everything, and we accidentally step on the proverbial banana peel from time-to-time. That said, we can reduce our chances of slipping and falling by priming our environment and giving up bad habits

Self-sabotage through destructive behaviour only increases the odds of being bitten in butt by Murphy’s Law – it’s only a matter of time until the bubble bursts. 

There are two areas I’m working on when it comes to self-sabotage. The first involves a specific habit I’m trying to break, while the other relates to my ultimate nemesis: procrastination.  

Let me give you an example of the latter. 

In the last two weeks, I’ve waited until the night before to write Wednesday’s blog posts. It’s led to a couple of late nights and taken several hours away from time spent with my partner. 

There are a few reasons why I procrastinate, of course, with the aforementioned bad habit being partially responsible. But one thing’s for certain – if anything can go wrong it will go wrong.

Eventually, I’m going to miss the publishing deadline I’ve set for the Davis Daily, and it’s only a matter of time before my relationship begins to suffer. 

Admittedly, it already has… 

Which is all the more reason for me to readjust the ratio and stack the odds in my favour. It’s another hint to reorient, refocus, and recommit. I’ll have you know, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. 

To close, I’ll leave you with three things to consider about Murphy’s Law: 

  1. It’s linked to your mental health and wellness—overthinking what might or might not happen in a situation heightens stress levels and increases anxiety.

  2. It’s related to the growth process both personally and professionally—overanalyzing the what ifs creates fear, self-doubt (or imposter syndrome), and halts progress.

  3. It’s a reminder to find balance; to stay humble and stay hungry—resting on your laurels blinds you from life’s inevitabilities as well as its possibilities.

That’s it for today. 

Thanks for reading, folks. ✌

There are three pencils, each with a broken tip.

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