stop digging

In his radio program and podcast The Dave Ramsey Show, a piece of common advice that personal finance author and speaker Dave Ramsey gives to his callers, who are working towards paying off huge amounts of debt, is to cut up their credit cards and/or stop borrowing any more money. In this instruction, he often alludes to the adage that the first rule of holes is that “if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

Although this sounds like common sense, very few people adhere to it. Unfortunately, when things go wrong, most of us end up going in the self-sabotage route turning things from bad to ugly. When something bad happens, against our better judgment, we make it worse. 

Whether it’s finances, health or relationships, when things go south, instead of practicing self-control and getting back on track, we get hurt and lose our way in the wilderness. We fail to adhere to our diet for one meal, and soon we’re back to eating junk food day in and day out. We feel angry or wronged in an instance, and soon we let rage and resentment take control of us making us act and behave in ways that we would never even think of. 

If there’s one thing that you can focus on today, let it be this simple one: don’t make matters worse. When the temptation arises, build a space between the event and your reaction. Don’t react because that’s what’s what everyone expects of you as a human, just extract yourself out of the event or situation, get aligned and then respond. Don’t let one misstep turn into a giant defeat. Stop digging, and leave things as they are. And then plan a strategy to get yourself out of the hole and work your way out.