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YOU CAN’T DIG YOURSELF OUT OF A HOLE. IF YOU ARE IN A HOLE, STOP DIGGING.


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Life is like a stock market cycle, it has its own ups and downs, its own rise and fall, its own moments of happiness and moments of despair. Sometimes we are on the mountain top of happiness or achievements and other times we are in the Holes of despair and failures. This is the duality of life. No one and I mean no one can have only one of it. Although it’s a different matter altogether that we want to see the peaks more, however, we just hate to be in that hole where LIFE is difficult.

When on the peak it is obvious that we want to stay there, soak in the moments, have fun and wish that these moments never end. Although a few souls do manage to stay there for a longer time, the rest of us do make the downward journey into that sinking hole of problems and difficulties. This journey is inevitable and we just cannot escape it. Life is a seesaw where we keep swinging between the peaks and the troughs (Holes).

When we are at the bottom pit, our holes of despair and difficulties and challenges and failures, all one wants is to jump out of that place. We just hate staying there. We despise the moments in life where things are not working out, when things don’t go according to our plans and we find ourselves into these holes.

This jump that we so desperately want, this move out that we are so aggressively wanting is a difficult task. When in a hole we may need some help from others, we may need some support to come out of those challenging situations. Sometimes the hole is so deep that we may also need to have lots of patience to work our ways out of it. Some situations can be so grave that a superior amount of wait is needed.

However, what we don’t need is to continue “DIGGING”. Here digging refers to those things that got us here in the first place. Example: As a student, if you loaf around the entire year and with exams around the corner and u find yourself in a Hole, the first thing you need is to stop digging more. You need to stop this loafing around that got you in this place.

Secondly, you need to stop the second digging habit of “Worrying”. This is something that needs to be avoided at all cost. It is equivalent to digging when in a hole. The more you worry, the more you keep sinking into that hole of difficulty. So, worrying, overthinking, etc make you go deeper into the hole.

So, then what are the steps we need to take to come out of that hole?

Step 1: Understand the process, reasons or causes that got you into this hole in the first place. This is the first and very critical step to take. It is also the most difficult step to take. Most of the people, most of the time find it very difficult to look at life from an Objective point of view. In doing so we become very subjective and in turn, we identify the wrong causes. We may have seen others and sometimes our own selves too blaming everyone and everything around us for all the problems in our life. So, if you find this objectivity difficult, take help from a close friend who will be able to see your situation from a much realistic point of view.

This identification process is very critical in every situation, whenever you feel you are in a hole. Find the reasons, is it something about you that has caused this situation, are you afraid of something, is there a skill that is lacking, is there something wrong in what you were doing, is there something in the people that you interact with. Go deep and come up with an honest reason for what got you here.

Step 2: Evaluate how difficult and consequential the situation is. What are the results this situation can produce and how much of a problem it can create? See what the possibilities of losses are. Here too we need to be careful so that we don’t overestimate the negative consequences. Many times we have this habit of overestimating losses. So be objective, practical and realistic about the impact this situation can have on your life. On the other hand, we don’t want to be too optimistic. The goal here is to be Realistic.

Step 3: What are the options and solutions available to you? Start generating answers to “How do I solve it” or “how can I come out of this”.

Remember: Having just one option is no option at all. Having two options is just a choice. You must have at least 3 or more solutions. The more the merrier.

Here too you can take help of friends, family, mentors and above all your own intelligence. You need to sit down and start generating options and solutions.

Once you build your list of possible solutions, start with something that seems very basic, outright easy to implement and seems practical to being with. Take action on this option right away. Don’t wait, don’t delay, don’t try to be perfect, don’t look for that Utopian perfect solution. Just being and make necessary changes on the way.

Step 4: Evaluate what you are doing and the results you are getting. If the results are encouraging keep going, if they are not as per your expectations Try some other solution or option. It’s very important to note that its practically impossible to hit on the right solution from the beginning unless you are lucky. For the rest of us, we need to make course correction as we progress towards our goal of coming out of that hole. So, keep changing your approach unless you find something that works.

No decision is perfect or right, we take the decision, we act on it and then make the decision right.

Example: Debt Crisis in Individual lives, in Corporate and in Countries (During the sub-prime crisis in 2008)

Here the problem is that people/companies/countries spend more than they earn, then they continue to finance their spending on borrowed money, further they also finance their debt obligation by taking more loans and thus this cycle continues and then one fine day the whole thing collapses under its own pressure.

When this happens, we have seen individuals taking the extreme step of Suicide, corporate filing for bankruptcies and   countries going into a prolonged period of hardships.

However, if at the right time, when the hole was not deep and the situation was not so precarious and if the above steps were followed then very likely the Jump out of the hole would have been possible. However, in this situation people kept on digging and in turn, went on sinking into their own holes of despair.

So next time if you find yourself into a hole, in a difficult situation look at the above steps and help yourself out of that situation. Most importantly “Stop digging if you are in a hole