Embracing The DipSeth Godin is a perennial favorite because he is among other things, what Saul Bellow called, a first class noticer. He gathers information and makes valuable and practical meaning from it. He doesn't skip the hard questions. His new book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) is no exception.
What is The Dip you ask? Seth defines it as “the long slog between starting and mastery. It's any rough patch you have to get through before achieving your big goal . . . if in fact you're chasing the right goal.” This short read – 86 pages – is really about understanding what needs to be done to make the move from mediocrity to greatness. It's about quitting what gets in the way of you being the best. As Seth points out, it takes a lot more than saying, "I want to be the best." It also means letting go of those things that for you are dead-ends. Quitting those things where you are wasting your time and energy and refocusing your resources in The Dip – that place where you can achieve the greatest accomplishment. This isn’t a new idea, but it is the best, most memorable presentation I have ever seen of it.
Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations. Reactive quitting and serial quitting are the bane of those that strive (and fail) to get what they want. And most people do just that. They quit when it’s painful and stick when they can’t be bothered to quit.Finding and successfully moving through your Dip is really a matter of counting the cost. Consider first, if you have the resources to carry on and then, if you succeed, is it worth the effort?
The Dip is why everyone is not doing what you're doing. It is also why you are not the “best in the world” at what it is you do. It’s where most people get stuck. Anything worth doing has a Dip. The Dip is actually a good place to be Seth says, because if you can get through it, you can win where most others quit. So, you want to find your Dip.
It’s the incredibly difficult challenges (the Dips) that give you the opportunity to pull ahead.If you’re looking for some inspiration you might try reading New Ideas from Dead CEOs by Todd Buchholz. He writes: “Each of these CEOs failed at some point. Faced with bankruptcy and defections, they could have succumb to psychological depression or the siren call of politicians offering class warfare. He each heard nos, the tsk-tsks of friends, and a schadenfreude chorus scoffing at their failure. But they pushed on, energized by passion, ego, money, and the promise of glory. You cannot build a successful business or economy on the kindness of strangers. These CEOs relied on more dependable, more human drives. Drives that took them on fascinating rides.” In short, they embraced the Dip.
Here’s a tip. If you can’t measure your progress, if you feel like you are working harder and harder to get nowhere, then you’re probably putting your efforts into a dead-end initiative. You have the wrong strategy. You need to let go and find your Dip. With a little introspection, this has the potential to be a life changing book. Take the time to read it and apply it. You can read it in one sitting but you’ll think about it for days.
A few people will choose to do the brave thing and end up the best in the world. Informed people will probably choose to do the mature thing and save their resources for a project they’re truly passionate about. Both are fine choices. It’s the last choice, the common choice, the choice to give it a shot and then quit that you must avoid if you want to succeed.
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