By Rev. Joseph M. Esper
Everyone has heard of Murphy’s Law (“If something can go wrong, it will; if it can’t go wrong, it will anyway”). One author, Michael LeBeouf (in his book Imagineering) lists nine corollaries to Murphy’s Law:
- Nothing is as easy at it looks.
- Everything takes longer than you think.
- If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one that will go wrong.
- If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth will promptly develop.
- Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
- Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
- Every solution breeds new problems.
- It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
- Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
(If you’re wondering “Who is the Murphy who came up with the original Murphy’s Law?,” here is the legend: Supposedly he was a captain in the British Army during World War II, and is said to have been killed while walking along a road in the United States after the war. You may be thinking, “Aha! He probably forgot that cars drive on the opposite side of the road in the U.S. than in Great Britain, and so he wasn’t walking safely according to our driving patterns.” In fact, according to the legend, Captain Murphy carefully took this into account, and was walking in the proper manner—but was hit and run over by a visiting British motorist driving on the wrong side of the road.)
Things will always go wrong in life, and despite our best efforts, we can’t change this truth. What we can control, however, is our response to life’s inconveniences and problems. Rather than complaining, cursing, or feeling sorry for ourselves, we can choose to remain calm, or remind ourselves that the situation could be much worse (and in fact is much worse for many people), or respond to our problems by finding the humor in them. Any and all of these responses helps us keep things in perspective, and that’s always a healthy thing to do; refusing to get all worked up and bothered by relatively little things makes life a bit easier and more enjoyable.
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Murphy’s Law will probably never be repealed, but we can amend it to our own satisfaction, perhaps in this manner:
“If anything can go wrong, it will—but who cares? Life is still good, and no matter what, I choose to appreciate it, enjoy it, and make the most of it.” That’s a law worth obeying.