‘If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.’
This is a tough concept to embrace- when we realize that we have made a mistake- especially a loud or public one- it can be hard to quit digging ourselves in deeper. When we begin to engage in the motions to maintain an image, meet an ideal, or not disappoint others, our attempts at a cover up can seem benign at first- but as today’s quote reminds, we are only digging a deeper hole for ourselves.
We all dig holes (make mistakes), but the art of putting down the shovel and stepping away from our self made trench does not always come easy. Saying or doing what we need to in order to begin backfilling the crater, is a skill that could be better practiced by many of us.
The world got a good view of someone who had to quickly ‘dig out’ on December 20th, during the Miss Universe pageant when host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced the wrong winner on live television. I have followed the story, not because I am a pageant fan, but instead because I have been taking notes on how deftly Steve Harvey quit digging and got right to backfilling the hole he created. He didn’t blame anyone else or shirk his responsibility- he just put the shovel down and quit digging. In the aftermath he has continued to be apologetic and sincere, but has also engaged in some self-deprecating humor that continues to acknowledge his mistake but brings levity rather than shame. (On December 25th he tweeted a funny picture of himself in a Christmas setting with the caption ‘ Merry Easter Y’all.’)
Who among us cannot relate to having ‘announced something with fervor’ in our own lives, only to realize that our loud and self assured words were, well, flat as* wrong?? When we dig ourselves a hole with our own error- and pride convinces us that there is not a thing to do but keep digging, this is the beginning of a pattern that will only take us deeper and deeper into our self-created dungeon.
There is only one way out of a hole and it is to stop digging. If we are wrong, we need to admit it. If we have wronged another, whether it was purposeful or not, we need to apologize, and if we have made a promise we cannot keep, we need to acknowledge it.
In my own life, I have been digging for a few weeks now… and the more I dig the deeper into my own mess I get. On December 11th I wrote a blog about the power of humor and decided that I was going to start a fun simple little blog that would deliver a quick funny video to readers each morning- to get a little endorphin rush going. I wondered at the time why there was no such thing in existence out there…. And now I know- between fair use laws, advertising red tape, and a plethora of long funny video compilations that cannot legally be edited down into short clips for my use…. There is just not a simple way to do what I want to do.
So for those of you who were looking forward to the January 1st start of The Laughter Café that I promised, I need to stop digging and put the concept to rest. I hate not following through on something I have committed to, but sometimes after you break ground with your words… the cleanest option is just to back up and get back to level ground.
Although there will be no ‘Laughter Café’ to sidle up to come January 1st, science has still proven that a morning neuro-chemical boost of laughter would help you start your day better- so try to give yourself this luxury as often as you can. I’m disappointed that I won’t be following through on the concept…. but I’m tired of digging, and will put my shovel down with this blog post.
Thanks Steve Harvey- for being such a great ambassador for the ‘early release program’ for hole diggers 😉