5 Laws of Holes: What Does Each Law Mean?

Here’s everything about the five Laws of Holes including examples:

  • If You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop Digging.
  • When you stop digging, you are still in a hole.
  • A hole not filled in will cause more issues in the future.
  • Don’t jump into another person’s hold.
  • Put Logic Above Your Ego.

So if you want to learn all about what each law of holes means exactly, then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

5 Laws of Holes: What Does Each Law Mean? (Examples)

What Are the Laws of Holes?

There are many laws to the way we live life, but defining what makes a law can be difficult.

There are multiple studies devoted to both legal and non-legal laws and their definitions.

Some laws are based on science, while some laws are rooted in philosophy or spirituality.

Take the Seven Natural Laws, for example, which was founded by William Walker Atkinson

In the case of the Law of Holes, it’s an adage, which means that the Law of Holes has combined both philosophical and human experiences into a saying that can apply to almost every situation.

This saying has been interpreted in many different ways and applies to almost any scenario.

Whether the scenario is personal or business-related, it’s a good rule of thumb to adhere to.

Here’s a closer look at the Laws of Holes:

#1 The First Law of Holes: Know When to Stop

The first law of holes is: If You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop Digging.

The first recorded use of this saying dates back to 1911 when the Washington Post published the original saying on the sixth page.

This saying reads:

“nor would a wise man, seeing that he was in a hole, go to work and blindly dig it deeper.”

You may find this law relevant to your business, your political beliefs, or even your financial situation.

But the message remains all the same

If you find you are in trouble, it’s best to quit whatever it is you are doing that has gotten you to this point. 

Law number one is by far the most fleshed-out law due to having an established origin.

Since 1911, this law has been greatly expanded upon.

But just how many Laws of Holes are there?

While it’s difficult to put a definite number on how many there are, there are generally five main Laws of Holes.

Recognizing the Hole You Have Dug

You can rise above any challenge thrown at you if you have the resources.

But you won’t find those resources below you.

To rise above your challenges, you can’t continue to go downward. 

Here’s the first law of holes example:

Say that you’re a project manager for a large organization.

There’s a lot of money involved in the project you are working on, and you find yourself having to consistently put more of the company’s money into the project.

Soon you’re finding yourself coming close to the end of the budget.

But the project is still far from complete.

Now would be the time to recognize that you’re in a hole.

However you need to solve the situation, you must first stop digging. 

There are usually many factors at play when it comes to a financial situation.

The most important thing to do is to recognize that you are, in fact, in a hole.

If you do not take note of where you are, you’ll continue to dig deeper. 

If you find that you have indeed dug yourself into a hole, it can be overwhelming.

But the first step in finding a solution is admitting there is a problem.

It might take a lot of pride-swallowing, but it is worth it, to be honest about what you are struggling with.

Containing the Issue

Let’s expand even more on the project manager budget example.

Suppose you have a team of hard-working employees working on your project.

They’re consistently coming to you with ideas and issues they’re having, all of which require money.

If you’re not keeping a close on the budget already established, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re approving to spend. 

The best thing to do when realizing you’re in a hole is to stop digging.

Stop approving any more expenses and assess the situation at hand.

#2 The Second Law of Holes: Know Where to Go Next

The First Law of Holes tends to be the same all across the board.

However, as we branch into different ways to apply the first law, the rest of the laws can change depending on what subject is being discussed.

As a general rule, the Second Law of Holes is: When you stop digging, you are still in a hole.

Here’s the truth: it is not enough to stop digging.

It is not enough to recognize that you’re in a hole.

Simply recognizing you’re in a hole does nothing to change that fact.

While this is an essential first step, it can also lead to a roadblock.

Until you do something about the situation, you’ll continue to stay in the same spot. 

The Second Law of Holes is about standing face-to-face with the problem at hand.

And more importantly, it is about figuring out ways to escape the hole you’re in.

Depending on the situation you’re in, there are a few different ways to do this.

Let’s take a look at some second Law of Holes examples:

Facing the Issues

Let’s go back to the project management scenario:

Now that you have realized you’re in a hole, you will most likely feel an immense amount of pressure.

Once you’ve recognized the hole you stand in, it’s now time to face the challenge at hand.

A solution may be to reach out in multiple ways.

By talking to your superiors and explaining the challenges at hand, you will most likely be able to problem-solve with them.

Keeping open communication is imperative, especially when you’re struggling.

Facing the Financial Hole

When it comes to dealing with your company’s finances, there’s a more concrete road you can take.

But like most anything else, the road you’re on is still unique to you.

But any way you spin it, the Second Law of Holes is about preparing yourself to take action. I

f you can start to achieve this step, you’re miles away from where you first started.

Progress is a journey that you can’t take lightly, no matter how small.

Progress is also not a linear journey.

You may have some setbacks, and you wind up feeling like you are back at square one at times. But go into the next laws with this in mind.

If you’re attempting to move forward in any way, big or small, this is an accomplishment to feel proud of.

#3 The Third Law of Holes: Taking Action

The third Law of Holes is about preventing yourself from falling into the same path as you were on before.

The third Law of Holes says: A hole not filled in will cause more issues in the future.

Once you have escaped the hole, you run the risk of falling back into it if you do not fill it up.

Here’s the third law of holes example:

You’ve talked to your boss regarding your budget for your project.

You work it out, and they agree to extend the budget another 100,000 dollars.

Now that you’ve climbed out of your hole, you must work to stay within the budget.

This may mean coming up with a plan to prevent overspending or simply cutting costs.

Staying within a budget can be difficult, especially when working on a big project.

If you’re wanting to prevent overspending in the future, you have to take measures to change what you were doing before.

The Process of Filling the Hole

Once you’ve established that you’re in a hole and then decided you want out, it is now time for the hard work. 

Adhering to a plan can be almost as difficult as making one.

Sometimes, when you’re climbing your way out of the hole, you might begin to slip backward. 

The process of overcoming any difficult situation can be a lengthy one.

Of course, it would be unfair to expect that everyone rises above the issues they face quickly.

Frequently, resources are limited, even for those who are desperate to escape the hole they have dug themselves.

There are even cases in which someone else might drag you into an entirely different hole.

Keep this in mind as we get into the next law:

#4 The Fourth Law of Holes: A Problem Shared Is Not Always a Problem Halved

A problem shared is true for the one who is already in a hole.

But if you don’t have a problem, you don’t need to share a problem.

So, as the fourth law of holes says: Don’t jump into another person’s hold.

While it may seem fairly obvious, humans are incredibly social creatures.

A lot of people subconsciously believe that “misery loves company.”

But there are many different reasons that multiple people can be trapped in the same hole.

You might not want to hear this, but there can be such a thing as “helping too much.”

When it comes to relationships with coworkers, most people sympathize with and want to help a person in need.

The closer you are to someone, the more likely you’ll feel the desire to help them should they ask. 

But it is imperative to set a healthy boundary.

If you get too involved with another person’s problems, you may just find yourself digging alongside them.

It’s not at all a bad thing to help someone who is struggling, but you want to be out of your own hole while doing so.

You cannot pour from an empty kettle. 

Peer Pressure

On the opposite end, you may end up joining someone in their struggles for selfish reasons.

This can occur if you are the type to jump off a bridge because others are doing it.

Sometimes people we know and admire can present a dangerous situation in a pretty package.

Here’s the fourth law of holes example:

Suppose you have a co-worker who is encouraging you to spend money that would exceed your budget.

They are adamant about going against the project guidelines because they believe that their way is the right way.

They’re convincing and well-spoken, but very arrogant. 

Should you listen to your co-worker, no matter how smart their idea seems, you’re now joining them in digging the project further into a hole.

This could cause both of you to lose your jobs, and you wind up in a deeper hole. 

While it is easy to get caught up in the words of someone you respect or admire, you must look at the situation logically.

Big egos can oftentimes be the downfall of a successful business. 

#5 The Fifth Law of Holes: Me, Myself, and I

The fifth law of holes says: Put Logic Above Your Ego.

Pride is a powerful thing.

It can prevent someone from admitting that they are as deep as they are.

Remember not to fall victim to such thinking, as there is no shame at all in admitting you need help. 

You must also not let your ego interfere with coming up with solutions.

If you’re someone who prides themselves on being “put together,” it can be easy to be frustrated with yourself when you’re struggling.

You may initially believe that you’re “better than this.”

If you’re a project manager, there is a good chance you hold that title for a reason.

But even the highest-ranking employee of a business can make mistakes, and they often do.

This way of thinking can be distracting, but more importantly, it can be draining on your mental health.

You must remember that it’s pointless to dwell on past actions.

The only thing you can do now is work to improve your situation.

You’re No Better or Worse than the Next Person

Keep in mind another adage, Murphy’s Law.

This law states that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

And while this is not a frequent danger, this law can impose itself on anyone.

If you’re a chief officer of your company, for example, it may become easy for you to feel above any kind of law.

Getting accustomed to success is a good feeling, but remaining humble can prevent outrage at yourself. 

The fact of the matter is, the higher up you are, the further you have to fall.

While it’s good and important to set goals, remember your original intentions.

Finding success may lead you to stray off the path you have chosen.

If you find yourself wanting to do something different, then revise your plans to fit these desires accordingly.