What is Murphy’s Law and How Can You Lifehack It?
In my corporate stress management business – http://www.EventsChairMassage.com – We are always dealing with small challenges that can grown into big problems. This is what Murphy’s law means to us.
People often use the term “Murphy’s Law” someone flippantly. More often than not it is an excuse for someone who is a lazy thinker or who is in the clutches of some form of cognitive bias.
It is a way of describing the perceived perversity of the universe.
The concept is as old as humanity and can be used specifically to increase or decrease effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity depending on the view and perspective of the individual applying the concept.
Before the term “Murphy’s Law even came into usage there was a version of the law, not yet generalized or bearing that name, in a report by Alfred Holt at an 1877 meeting of an engineering society.
Relating the concept to engineering the report promoted the concept that anything that can go wrong at sea generally does go wrong sooner or later, so it is not to be wondered that owners prefer the safe to the scientific …. Sufficient stress can hardly be laid on the advantages of simplicity. The human factor cannot be safely neglected in planning machinery. If attention is to be obtained, the engine must be such that the engineer will be disposed to attend to it.
Mathematician Augustus De Morgan wrote on June 23, 1866: “The first experiment already illustrates a truth of the theory, well confirmed by practice, what-ever can happen will happen if we make trials enough.
This concept appears in many different areas of life. For example, the British stage magician Nevil Maskelyne wrote in 1908:
“It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.”
In 1948, humorist Paul Jennings coined the term resistentialism, a jocular play on resistance and existentialism, to describe “seemingly spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects”, where objects that cause problems (like lost keys or a runaway bouncy ball) are said to exhibit a high degree of malice toward humans.
The contemporary form of Murphy’s law goes back as far as 1952, as an epigraph to a mountaineering book by John Sack, who described it as an “ancient mountaineering adage”:
Anything that can possibly go wrong, does.
Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, has shown that in 1952 the adage was called “Murphy’s law” in a book by Anne Roe, quoting an unnamed physicist: he described [it] as “Murphy’s law or the fourth law of thermodynamics” (actually there were only three last I heard) which states: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”
Ultimately, the person with an interest in becoming more effective, efficient and productive and who know how to use game Theory and game based models can both reduce the likelihood Murphy’s Law taking place sooner rather than later and may even predict when it is likely to take place.
This fine article explores how to use Murphy’s Law to prosper in all areas of your life.
Always Lifehack! In the end you will save, money, save time and create greater happiness.
This was an extract from my notes on lifehacking. For a book on the subject I suggest:
“How to Hack Your Life Through Game Thinking” By Lewis Harrison. The book contains over 400 high and low-fi hacks.
– Available as an ebook at:
The Softcover version is available at:
Learn more about all of lewis harrison’s educational materials at: http://www.RealUGuru.com
Lewis Harrison – The RealUGuru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving, troubleshooting and strategizing based on game thinking, applied game theory and systematic thrift.
He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.
Don’t forget to tune to the “Life Hack Guru Radio Show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.
WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc….
If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books contact him for personal coaching and mentoring. Learn more at:
You can find books on game theory, and business success here:
This course and all the offerings on http://www.RealUGuru.com focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness, and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.
Here is a short interview with Lewis;
This blog is supported by a grant from Events Chair Massage (www.eventschairmassage.com). This is a company offering Anti-Stress hacks through his company which offers Corporate chair massage to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States through www.NoStressSpeaker.com.