Murphy's Law

The Murphy's Law

The Murphy's Law is an eponym. It was named after Air Force Capt. Edward A. Murphy (1918-1990), an American aerospace engineer at the Edwards Air Force Base. Murphy and company were working on an Air Force project designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. The Murphy's Law, which actually consists of 7 primary laws, began as simple sarcastic conversations among the Air Force engineers; it began when Murphy became irritated and exasperated when one engineer wrongly installed some cables and wires on the project they were working on. Murphy mocked and derided the engineer's mistake in his popular lines: "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong" and "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll do it."

From then on, the other engineers listed down all similar sarcasm and derision, and labeled them as a compilation of mistakes, gaffes and blunders. They called the compilation Murphy's Law in allusion to the complaints and grumbles of Edward A. Murphy.

Muprhy's Law became popular in the late 1940s to 1950s, and continues to be referred to until the present time when something gets wrong. The 7 Murphy's Law are:

1st Law:
Nothing is as easy as it looks.

2nd Law:
Everything takes longer than you think.

3rd Law:
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong
and at the worst possible times.

4th Law:
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong,
the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.

5th Law:
If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.

6th Law:
Left to themselves, things tend to go
from bad to worse.

7th Law:
If everything seems to be going well,
you have obviously overlooked something.

It is interesting to note how Capt. Murphy died. One dark night, he ran out of gas while driving. Careful as he was, he was walking towards a gas station facing the traffic and wearing white. But while hiking, he was struck from behind by a British tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road.

INSIGHTS: In a positive outlook, Murphy's Law alerts us to be more extra-careful of whatever we do. It tells us to do our work with dexterity, and come up with contingency plans. Never to be over-confident and laid back. Always plan out and project what else have been missed out. On the other hand, Murphy's Law makes people unnecessarily distrusting, insecure and timid. It can develop into paranoia. One therefore need not be fixated and afraid of the Murphy's Law. Rhonda Byrne's The Law of Attraction (2006) is a very good antidote to Murphy's Law. So be happy and gleeful, learn from mistakes, and attract positive energy!

Other application of Murphy's Law:
  • Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics
    Things get worse under pressure.
  • The Murphy Philosophy
    Smile . . . tomorrow will be worse.
  • Quantization Revision of Murphy's Laws
    Everything goes wrong all at once.
  • Murphy's Constant
    Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
  • Murphy's Law of Research
    Enough research will tend to support whatever theory. Research supports a specific theory depending on the amount of funds dedicated to it.

  • Addition to Murphy's Laws
    In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right ... something is wrong.
  • More Laws of Selective Gravitation.
  1. A falling object will always land where it can do the most damage.
  2. A shatterproof object will always fall on the only surface hard enough to crack or break it.
  3. A paint drip will always find the hole in the newspaper and land on the carpet underneath (and will not be discovered until it has dried).
  4. A dropped power tool will always land on the concrete instead of the soft ground (if outdoors) or the carpet (if indoors) - unless it is running, in which case it will fall on something it can damage (like your foot).
  5. If a dish is dropped while removing it from the cupboard, it will hit the sink, breaking the dish and chipping or denting the sink in the process.
  6. A valuable dropped item will always fall into an inaccessible place (a diamond ring down the drain, for example) - or into the garbage disposal while it is running.
  7. If you pick up a chunk of broken concrete and try to pitch it into an adjacent lot, it will hit a tree limb and come down right on the driver's side of your car windshield.
  • More Laws of Selective Gravitation
  1. The greater the value of the rug, the greater the probability that the cat will throw up on it.
  2. You will always find something in the last place you look.
  3. If your looking for more than one thing, you'll find the most important one last.
  4. It is never in the last place you look. It is in the first place you look, but never discovered on the first attempt.
  5. After you bought a replacement for something you've lost and searched for everywhere, you'll find the original.
  6. You have to look where you lost it.
  7. No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.
  8. The other line always moves faster.
  9. In order to get a personal loan, you must first prove you don't need it.
  10. Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost you more than you thought.
  11. If you fool around with a thing for very long you will screw it up.
  12. If it jams - force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
  13. When a broken appliance is demonstrated for the repairman, it will work perfectly.
  14. Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it.
  15. Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  16. In any hierarchy, each individual rises to his own level of incompetence, and then remains there (Peter Principle).
  17. There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over.
  18. When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.
  19. Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral or fattening.
  20. Murphy's golden rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules.
  21. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  22. Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference.

Uris, Auren. 1986. 101 of the Greatest Ideas in Management. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Murphy's Law at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_law

Origins of Murphy's Law at http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html

Murphy's Law Applied at http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-laws.html