Murphy’s Law and The Antidote

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I’ve never met this guy Murphy, but he threw me a bunch of wrenches yesterday. Murphy is the symbolic embodiment of any and all inconvenient situations.

Got a big day coming up where your performance could determine the trajectory of your career after? Plan for Murphy to attend at the most inconvenient times. Think you have every contingency covered? Nope. Murphy will turn off the electricity right before you get to your most important slide during the most important presentation of your career. What will you do then?

Here are things to think about when dealing with Murphy. It will help calm your mind as Murphy takes control.

  1. Realize that Murphy exists. Denial is the first obstacle you must overcome. Planning as if Murphy will be absent is planning for failure. Simply acknowledge his presence. (or “her” presence; not sure what gender Murphy identifies as). Realizing his presence will help you skip the “Why Me?” phase when disaster strikes.
  2. Have an alternate plan. Pretty obvious here. You cannot plan (nor should you) for every single possible setback. But do plan for the most likely setbacks. Chances are, the unique disaster that surfaces is related to what you’ve already planned for, even if not entirely.
  3. Adopt the Kaizen mentality of small, incremental, progress. Oftentimes we place obstacles ourselves that prevent us from moving forward. “Pursuit of perfection” is a prime example of a self-imposed obstacle. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means to gradually improve your situation one step at a time.
  4. Always keep your eye towards the goal. When disaster strikes, we all get so caught up in the moment. Our energy is entirely devoted to the fire that’s in front of us. When you experience a setback, take a step back and assess the situation. Sometimes, you can only develop another approach while in the midst of a setback. But you can’t do that if you’re only focused on the fire in front of you.

Murphy almost got me yesterday. He came up close to my face and I could smell his breath a little. It stank. Reeked. We had a staring contest. I won! You can too if you keep these tips in mind.

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