01 April 2024

The Rule of Holes

"Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails at something."

--David Gemmell

(C) Deposit Photos

The "Law of Holes" adage first appeared in the Washington Post in 1911. 

The first rule's original iteration--"Nor would a wise man, seeing that he was in a hole, go to work and blindly dig it deeper ..."

The contemporary version reads like this: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

It's a philosophy of learning to let go. 

Here are seven more rules to keep in mind:

2. Holes happen. They can appear out of nowhere, full-blown. One minute, they're not there; the next thing you know, you're in one. A wise person always carries a ladder.

3. Climb out of the hole as soon as possible. 

4. After you have climbed out of the hole, don't fall back in or dig yourself a new hole.

5. Holes come in a wide variety of types and sizes, all of which have the potential to cause you trouble. Sinkholes, the Black Hole of Calcutta, and the hole in the ozone come to mind. A hole in the water into which you pour money is called a boat. There can be holes in your story, your pocket, your glass, your résumé, your memory, your shoes, and your soul. 

6. Sometimes, holes can be your friend, for instance, in a storm. But it's important to know what kind of storm is coming. Holes are suitable in a tornado; they are not so good in a flood.

7. Bottomless holes are called pits, as in throwing good money into one. But "bottomless-ness" is a physical impossibility. The money just takes longer to get there before it finally disappears.

8. Regardless of all the Horatio Alger motivation, no matter how hard you try, you can never build a hole starting at the bottom and working up.

Source: H. Martin Moore, Jordan Rothstein, and the Internet. 


© Bredholt & Co.