If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.
This is, in a nutshell, what Murphy’s Law is all about. Things go wrong, usually when we need them to go right.
You have experienced Murphy’s Law firsthand if you have ever tried to print out an assignment for school 20 minutes before it’s due, only to have your printer stop working even though it was working just fine last night.
Frustrating? Absolutely. A lost cause? Definitely not. Here are a few actions to take when Murphy’s Law is taunting you.
1. Stay calm
When things don’t go the way you originally planned, you might be tempted to lay your head down on your desk and start crying. Don’t do that. The best thing you can do in this situation, the very first thing you need to remember to do when any kind of ‘crisis’ hits, is to stay as calm as possible.
No, really. Panicking is exactly what you do not want to start doing when things start going wrong. Often you are going to be in a position that requires you to set an example for those around you, and if you start losing your head, it’s much more likely those working for you will do the same.
Acknowledge that something has gone wrong and slowly begin to take steps toward making things work anyway. Take a few deep breaths if you need to. Close your eyes. These things happen, but it is very important that you logically, and calmly, dive right into getting them fixed instead of spending that time worrying out loud.
2. Execute your ‘crisis plan’
Logically, the best way to cope with everything going wrong is to prevent everything from getting any worse. Coming up with a detailed step by step plan of how you are going to react when something starts falling apart is essential. You might also be able to come up with a few ways to completely prevent Murphy’s Law from touching some of your plans.
In the professional world, they call this “crisis management planning.” It’s how you can prepare for things to go wrong in your business. You can also use the same principle in other areas of your life as well.
Once you have that plan in place, you can put it to good use when you are hit with a crisis, no matter how small.
Let’s say you planned for a new product to launch on your website this morning, one your customers are expecting and waiting for. Of course, as soon as you go to launch it, your entire website’s interface crashes. What are you supposed to do now?
If you have a crisis plan in place, you would immediately know to tell whoever is in charge of your social media channels to send out a few messages that your team is working on the problem. They can take care of that while you (calmly) get in touch with your web engineers.
3. Think positive
“Everything is going wrong, I can’t believe I let this happen, I am such a failure” is not going to help you make any progress toward fixing the problem. In these situations, you have to think more positively about your circumstances.
You may be the only one who can stop things from getting worse when they have already veered off course. Talk yourself through what is going wrong and what you need to do to fix it. Use positive affirmations to convince yourself that everything is going to be okay and that you have the power to work around what’s broken.
Tell yourself, “This isn’t going the way I planned, but things happen. So-and-so will understand if I explain what happened. I can make this work.”
4. Problem solve
Thinking positive is only one piece of the puzzle, though. You have to use that momentum and the affirmation from those thoughts to convince yourself to think logically about what to do next and act on it.
Part of coping with Murphy’s Law is accepting that problems will arise, and you are going to have to use your brain to come up with logical solutions. Come up with a chain of possible actions that might be able to solve your problem and act on them one by one until you find a solution that works.
You might say, “Well, my printer isn’t working, but the person who lives upstairs told me once that I could use hers if I ever needed to. I’ll go knock on her door. And if that doesn’t work, I can run to the library.”
5. Be honest about what’s happening
Murphy’s Law is a ‘law’ because it happens to everyone. Be honest about what’s going wrong and assure those around you that you are working on getting it fixed. If you can’t fix it, don’t lie and say you can.
Seek out help if you need it. Other people understand that these things happen, and many of them will be willing to help you out if you are honest and real about it.
This doesn’t mean you can get away with blaming everything bad that happens to you on a law, but it does mean you can be better prepared for the next time something goes wrong. It will also help you practice your crisis management and problem solving skills in other areas of your life as well.
If something can go wrong, it will most definitely go wrong. Murphy’s Law is just a part of being human, and it’s up to us to come up with ways to combat its tricks and outsmart it just when it thinks it has us beat.
Remember to stay calm in the face of tragedy and to always have a plan in place to calmly and logically handle the negative effects of Murphy’s Law. Talk yourself through what you need to do, come up with possible solutions and act on them. Be honest, with yourself and others, about what’s happening and do everything you can to fix it.
The best part about Murphy’s Law is that there is always something to learn from every little thing that goes wrong.