Murphy’s Law isn’t always bad

Linda LaitalaBusiness, Employees, Leadership, ManagementLeave a Comment

Does the phone seem to always ring just when you’re dashing out the door? Does your PC freeze when you’re in the middle of an important task, leaving you frantically trying to replace your work? Do you put your holiday tree up at the last minute expecting none of the lights will work?

Welcome to the aggravating world of Murphy’s Law which says, “When anything can go wrong it will.”

When you’re constantly expecting the worst, the effects can lead to stress, eventually becoming too disturbing to ignore.

But there is an upside to pessimism; in some circumstances, it can be motivating and even constructive. Research suggests that defensive pessimism is a strategy that anxious people use to help them manage their anxiety.

In one study, when pessimists were instructed to imagine how a situation might have negative outcomes, they performed significantly better than when they were prompted to be in a good mood in the same situation. This suggests that they harnessed their negative mood to make themselves perform better.

Pessimism can be more beneficial than optimism, for example when you are waiting for news about a situation where you have no opportunity to influence the outcome (such as a job interview). Optimists take a bigger hit to their level of self-esteem than do pessimists.

Pessimism prepares people for negative outcomes. Compared to optimists; pessimists are more likely to take preventative action.

So, being a pessimist isn’t all bad – though you may want to temper it with some positive attitude. It’s what you do with that pessimism that matters.

The road is easier together,

Leave a Reply