American business magnate Warren Buffet shares some profound advice about how to get unstuck in life: “The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.”
Stop digging? But doesn’t a little extra muscle help lift you out of your stagnant circumstances? Doesn’t trying a little harder move you forward? Not necessarily.
Sometimes the harder we try, the more frustrated we become. Sometimes digging and digging simply results in a deeper hole without a smooth escape. Warren, the Sage of Omaha, is right. Despite our instincts to work our way out of a hole, it’s important to stop and get our bearings. Often, it is best to put down our shovel and either climb out of the hole we’ve dug or ask for a helping hand to get out.
Putting Down Your Shovel
By nature, I’m more of a try-harder, dig-deeper kind of gal. I don’t list stubborn on my list of admirable qualities, but sometimes I do let my determination and drive get the best of me. Gee, on some days, I feel like I need to rent a backhoe and go to town on excavating my problems myself. You know, add some extra oomph to get things down with faster speed and greater torque. But then I find that I leave a wake of spin-off problems because I didn’t wait to think things through more thoroughly.
What about you? When do you find it most challenging to put down your shovel? What trips you up in wanting to bring it a backhoe . . . NOW?
Is it when the kids are sick and whiny? When you are sick and whiny? When the bills are stacking up and the bank account is running bare? When you are tired of waiting and want to see progress immediately?
The Holes We Dig
It never ceases to amaze me the types of holes we humans can create. Some of us dig an assortment of holes: overworking, crash dieting, overspending, complaining, skipping sleep and rest, criticizing, and on and on. But what if we applied Warren’s advice and instead of digging ourselves deeper in a hole, we dig deep inside ourselves . . . and stop?
Yep, we pause long enough to breathe again. Long enough to recalibrate our sense of direction and purpose. I’m game, if you are.
With our shovels at rest, we’ll have more time to wisely evaluate at our situation and even apply the advice of Hosea, a Sage of Israel, “it’s time to dig in with God” (Hosea 10:12, The Message). When we’re in a hole, fresh perspective from above helps us see the light of day.
So what does getting out of a hole look like for you these days? For me, I’m putting down my shovel and canceling that order on the backhoe. I’m also parking it for a few minutes with a iced decaf latte. I’ll blend in some prayer and let go of my own hole-digging plans.
If you wanna come join me, I’ll fix you a cool one, too, and we’ll give both our shovels a rest.
Good advice, Beth! I dig it!
Nancy, you know just how to make me chuckle. I needed that scoopful of levity this morning.
Really good Beth. Except for the iced latte………Ha!
Haaaa, Kris. So you only drink hot coffee? Hmmmm…good to know about you, my Scanda-hoovien friend. Ya, sure, ya, betcha.
Beth, you have nailed it once again.
A few weeks back on a Sunday, you helped me to put down my own shovel, and make a list of things I needed to accomplish. Your timely advice saved me from digging deeper. God has blessed me with a neighbor and dear friendlike YOU!
Awww…I’m glad I could nudge you out of digging that hole. Let’s save our shovels for our flowerbeds. 🙂
Always a pleasure to read. If I don’t have time to read your blog when I get it I save it for a few days until I can digest what you’re saying. Always glad I do that. I love that you’re short and sweet but always hit a nerve that needs to get tended to. Thanks for helping us navigating a complex world. Love you!
Daria, I am truly honored that you take the time to read the blogs and find them helpful in our complex world. Thank you for sharing your encouraging words!