I was ready to leave the office. I unlocked my bike from the stand and I began pedaling. Strange repeating sound broke the silence immediately when my butt landed on the seat and my feet touched the pedals. I looked down and I saw that I had a flat tire. I reached for my phone to call my girl so she can pick me with the car on her way back home from work. Unfortunately, my battery vanished the moment I dialed the number – I was planning to recharge my phone for the past 3 hours. “So, I’ll walk,” I said slightly irritated. When I was finally home, I went to my basement to leave my bike but the universe had a different plan. The key decided to stuck inside the keyhole and I had a 45 minutes battle until I was finally able to figure out a way to unstuck myself from this situation…
How many times you had a problem with your car, then a bird pooped on your pants, later, you figure out that you’ve forgotten your wallet the moment you had to pay for your meal, and for a grand finally, the clouds above your head decided to listen to the prayers of the local tribe and pour an ocean of water in forms of rain on you?
In some occasions, we feel like a single event causes a chain reaction of shitty things that happen to us in a relatively short period of time. We tag these days as bad, or as oh-gosh-what-the-hell-is-happening-I-want-this-torture-to-end, and the only thing we hope for in such situations is our soft pillow, a restart of the system, tomorrow. Because tomorrow is always better from today when things go wrong.
But getting a little poop on yourself is not the worse that can happen, right?
Some people even say that this attracts good luck.
Still, there are other moments in our lives when we have to deal with problems far more shitty than actually getting a real shit on yourself. Stuff like: being fired from work, not having enough money to pay the bills this month, not having enough time to write articles or do what’s needed to support your side project + having issues with your car, prostate, can’t find your car keys, etc.
In this post, we’ll talk extensively about what to do when things go wrong. How to get back on track to our plans, desired habits, and not going broke when a few things break and need replacement in a short period of time.
The Story Behind The Phrase “Anything That Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong”
I’m sure you’ve heard of him. This dude who is constantly skeptical and restlessly searches for flaws in everything.
Years ago I thought that Murphy was an actual guy. The Murphy who is related to the Murphy’s law, where the possibility for something bad happening is kind the expected result.
I was surprised to find out that Murphy’s law is a state of realization that is basically saying that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”, and not an actual guy.
There are a lot of speculations about when this was invented, as a phrase, and who is the original author of the definition. Even though there are a lot of assumptions, no one can actually say for sure when this adage was first pronounced.
Some say that it was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base.1;
Others say that this way of thinking “has probably been around as long as there have been things to go wrong.”2
To be honest, it doesn’t quite matter.
There is something else which is more important: What you can actually learn from this saying?
A lot of people think that this phrase breathes lack of hope and a tinge of depression. But it’s actually something else.
The whole concept, if you get it right, is actually a way to prevent and be prepared when shitty thing happed to you in the future.
Why It’s Important to Know What Can Go Wrong?
Let’s observe for a moment this amazing invention called: the automobile.
So, the car is a complicated machinery. It’s a composition of metal, welds, wires, tires, engine, bolts, straps, bulbs, special mechanisms, oil, other liquids, and even more things I’m not at all familiar with.
One of the reasons I no longer adore having a car is exactly all these things that compose a car.3
Well, because such complex mechanism means that there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Basically, every few months something needs replacement or repairs: tires, oil, brakes… other things I don’t understand. The only thing I know is that once something brakes, and it will, it will cost me money and time.
The Murphy’s law acts with full force here: If there is even a small chance to get a flat tire, you’ll most probably will.
If you really think about it, you will realize that there is only one state where you can actually drive your car: when there is nothing wrong with your car. However, there are numerous possible conditions in which you won’t be able to drive your car: flat tire, no gas, no electricity, problem with the brakes, problem with the engine, problem you don’t know, problem your mechanic can’t also quite understand, etc.
The same logic applies when we’re trying to adopt a new habit or when we’re working towards a goal.
The likelihood for your final goal to be successfully accomplished shrinks with each new sub-goal you add.
Too many things than can go wrong.
Always Plan For the Worse
The second thing you need to do when you set a goal for yourself is to forecast all possible things that can go wrong.4
Let’s say you wanna lose weight.
Your goal is to lose 20 pounds and eventually stay in good shape:
Get up 1 hour earlier on Monday, Wednesday, Friday;
Go to the GYM near the office to exercise before work;
Eat salad one time a day;
Don’t drink alcohol.
As we can see, these things look quite easy to follow.
People often set goals similar to the above. They plan to change their lives and finally get that beach body they’ve always been dreaming about.
They set a workout schedule and they begin to participate.
As you know, however, the majority of the people who set such type of goals end up going back to their original lifestyle and keeping their original weight if not even getting a few pounds on top of that. The main reason? They don’t plan for the worse.
There are several things that can ruin the perfectly designed plan mentioned above. Let’s see some of them:
Get up 1 hour earlier on Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
You might oversleep; A family member might get sick and you’ll need to drive him/her to the hospital; You might get a flat tire on your way towards the GYM.
Go to the GYM near the office to exercise before work:
What if the GYM is closed that particular day for whatever reason? What if there are no showers in the GYM, you can’t go to work without taking a shower? What if there are showers but you forgot to bring your work clothes?
Eat salad one time a day and don’t drink alcohol:
What if you don’t have enough time to order or you forgot to prepare a salad the day before? What if you’re invited to a party and people kind of force you to drink? If you have a track record of someone who drinks it will be hard for you to resist such temptation.
How Not Thinking About The Worse Things Affects Your Goals?
At this moment, you might think: “Well, what the hell, I’ll miss a workout and I’ll get a few drinks, there is nothing wrong about this, right?”
Yes, you are human and yes, mistakes do happen and schedules are often interrupted by unpredicted circumstances but these things can easily get you back to where you’ve started.
Don’t go to the GYM 2 or 3 times and you’ll start saying to yourself stuff like: “I don’t have enough time” or “I guess it’s not meant to be slimmer and have beach body that I can share on Instagram #sadface”.
Go to a party, have a few drinks and you’ll quickly remember how cool it is to drink alcohol and not care about anything, especially how you look and how you feel.
When things go wrong, and it’s 100% certain that they will at some point, you need to have a backup plan. Especially if you want to implement a new task, a new habit, something you haven’t done before, in your daily routine.
I know, it sounds kind of harsh but that’s the truth.
You’re probably above the desired weight because of something you didn’t plan when you were setting this goal.
The majority of the population, at one point or another, have a New Year’s resolution that includes phrases like: “go to the gym”, “lose weight”, “get in shape.” And many of them then commit to purchasing a gym membership. Few months later, though, sometimes even sooner, they no longer visit the gym. Why?
These people don’t plan for the worse, thus after a few missed appointments with the bench, they say “fuck you, gym, I no longer love you. I love donuts, pizza, round things. This includes also my belly.”
How To Plan For The Worse?
The first step will be to define the possible worse case scenarios in your life:
Problems with the car: flat tire, broken window, etc;
Problems with business: hacked website, an employee quits; slow month;
Budget problems: not enough money to cover the rent due to an emergency situation;
Healthy setbacks: Can’t workout in the morning, don’t have time to prepare healthy meals.
Next step will be to think about solutions. To have predefined fixes for certain emergency situations:
Probmels with car > Get a taxi and leave the car to the mechanic;
Problems with business > I have to regularly backup my site; I can handle the extra work if somebody gets sick; Work on a new project that will help me survive the slow months;
Budget problems > Have an emergency fund which I can use when expenses are high;
Healthy setbacks > Do a shorter workout (10-20 minutes); Order healthy snacks.
You see, these things are not revolutionary. I mean, we all know that we might get a flat tire someday. The idea is to be prepared when something like this happens. To think about possible shitty situations in advance. Often people neglect life. They buy a gym membership thinking that from now on they’ll live a different life. However, they never consider the possible setbacks that life will throw at them.
The best advice will be to keep things simple.
As I mentioned earlier, a car is a composition of a lot of things, which means that the chances for something to break are high.
The more stuff you own, the more staff you hire, the more things you strive to do, the more problems you’ll have.
Each additional object and each additional skill requires your attention.
If you have kids, a spouse, a job, a side business, if you want to read more, you want a six-pack, you’ll surely have a problem in at least one of those areas.
But here’s another solution: settle with making tiny progress.
Don’t start pulling your hair or blaming your family when you don’t have time to go to the gym. Instead, do a shorter workout. Do a couple of pushups or a quick workout indoors. It doesn’t quite matter. The important thing is to keep making progress. No matter how small.
Even if you’re living a simple life, if you’re a minimalist, this doesn’t ensure that you’ll have a worry-free life. You’re not immune to troubles if you’re wearing only black. Probably you’ll have less things on your mind, which is good, but not zero.
Eventually, something will break, you’ll spend more money than you’ve earned this month, you’ll do less of what you had to. Accept this but also take your time to figure out a way to act in shitty situations.
Plan for bad days and have predifined solutions for possible future setbacks.
Or in other words, have some cash under the mattress when things to crazy.
You never know what might happen tomorrow.
You can read the full explanation in the following article: LINK.