Why do things go wrong all at once

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Murphy's law?

Why do roads get crowded when we are in a hurry?
Why do we meet annoying people when we become angry?
Why do more bad things happen right after we feel bad?
Why do weird things happen when we don't want them to happen?

I am pretty sure you noticed that an accident blocks the road only when you are in a hurry or that bad things happen only when you are too intolerant to them. I am not a fan of Murphy's law which states that "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong" not because its not true but because it never provided an explanation for these events.

So what could be the possible explanation for such weird events?

Why do things go wrong all at once

Here are some explanations that would make a lot of sense to you:

  • 1) Our emotions Change our perception: Our emotions affect our perception a great deal. You can see totally different things as soon as your emotions change even if you staying at the same place. Try to watch a movie while you are sad then watch that movie later when you are happy and you will get what i mean. As a result of the change in the way we perceive things already existing problems or tiny ones that just happened seem much bigger (see also How our emotions change our perception of the world)
  • 2) We become more sensitive when we feel down: On a normal day you might not bother much if you forgot your car keys at home but if you are already stressed or emotionally pressured then this normal event might result in lots of horrible emotions. This is why you sometimes find people bursting in tears after a tiny bad event happened. It's just that they were already burdened with bad emotions that made them much more sensitive to bad events
  • 3) We get what we focus on: In the Super powers course i said that our minds discard all chunks of data that doesn't match our thoughts or beliefs. When we start to feel bad we become more focused on the bad things in our lives and thus it seems that more bad things are happening while in fact we are just becoming aware of what was already there (see also How our beliefs affects our perception)
  • 4) Unfinished businesses: If you have few important problems that you aren't dealing with then a new one happened it will quickly remind you of the previous ones in such a way that you will think that all bad things happen together. In such a case its your fault that you kept so many unsolved problems without tackling them (see The ultimate solution to life problems)
  • 5) It happens all the time but you were ignoring it: Roads get crowded all the time, you forget your keys often and you meet annoying people often but you ignore those events when you are feeling fine and that's why you think that they never happen. Now when you feel bad those things become intolerable and as a result you believe that they only happen at the wrong time

Our Emotional memory

We humans remember the events that affected our emotions the most more easily than the ones that didn't have any effect on us. If you had plenty of time then the road got crowded then most probably you won't feel anything and as a result this event will be discarded.

Now if were late on an important interview then a crowded road will result in a lot of stress, frustration and bad feelings and as a result that event will appear like a serious one.

Its just that you were ignoring that event previously because it didn't cause you any bad emotions and now that it affected you it became intolerable and hardly forgettable.

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