Digging a Better Ditch


“If you’re going to be a ditch digger, be the best one you can be.” Not sure where I heard this the first time…I know I was young.

I used to think this meant you should shovel better than any one else. That you should work hard and get dirty. In my mind, it was a blue-collar-pride type of thing to say.

But, over the years, I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to shovel at all.

You should be willing to, if that’s what it will take. Ultimately though, you need to make that ditch the best ditch you can for the purpose that ditch is to serve.

That might mean renting a ditch witch if you’re up against a deadline. It might mean getting someone to help you with the obstacles that are in the way of where that ditch needs to go. It might even mean digging that ditch in a different spot.

Too often I have found myself doing the same routine things because that’s just the way I was taught to do them. When I stopped to think about what I was doing, sometimes I realized I could save myself a lot of time by doing it in a different manner.

I’m reminded of a time in college when I taught a friend how to copy and paste. He said, “that’s so lazy!” I laughed. It was funny, but now, years later, he has probably saved himself days of work by using the copy and paste feature on his computers.

Dig the ditch, but do it the best way you can.

Ultimately, work smart.

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