What is Murphy’s Law?
Murphy’s law is a popular aphorism that states: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This law is often used to express the idea that anything that has the potential to go wrong in a situation or scenario, is likely to do so, usually at the worst possible moment.
The origin of Murphy’s law is somewhat unclear, but it is often credited to an American engineer named Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr., who is said to have made this observation in the context of his work on safety systems for aircrafts during the 1950s. However, the idea of “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” has been expressed in various forms long before Murphy, and is thought to have originated in the early 20th century as a piece of military folklore.
Today, Murphy’s law is often invoked in a humorous or tongue-in-cheek manner to suggest that despite our best efforts to prevent it, things will inevitably go wrong. However, it is also seen as a reminder to be prepared for the unexpected and to build in contingency plans for when things do go wrong.
Murphy’s law lists
While there is no official list of Murphy’s laws, the following are some commonly cited examples that are often seen as expressions of the basic idea behind Murphy’s law:
• If anything can go wrong, it will.
• If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, someone will do it.
• Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
• If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
• Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
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• The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
• 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.
• Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
• Every solution breeds new problems.
• Anything that can’t go on forever, won’t.
These are just a few examples of how Murphy’s law is often expressed. The basic idea behind all of them is that things have a tendency to go wrong, even when we do our best to prevent it, and that we should always be prepared for the unexpected.