The Dip

book: The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

author: Seth Godin

rating: 8.5/10

general overview

The Dip is a quick and easy-to-follow read, chock full of thought-provoking advice, inspiration, and great examples illustrating that Godin knows his stuff. i highly recommend this to anyone who is currently second-guessing their book, business, product, or latest venture. i especially recommend this book to any entrepreneur.

“Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, drive through the other barrier. And after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day.”

summary notes

the big question

should i stick out this hardship, or should i throw in the towel? it’s a life-changing question that everyone faces at one point or another. this is the question Godin presents and delves into in this book.

Godin challenges the mantra “winners never quit.” he says it’s simply not true and that winners actually quit all the time. he says that winners know when it’s time to give up a lost cause. winners know they only have a limited stockpile of energy, money, and time. when a cause seems to be expending too much of these precious resources and not yielding any return, it’s time to put the resources to another cause, leading towards a better outcome.

a healthier, more productive way to think of quitting is that it’s closing an unfruitful door and opening a new door to a better (and potentially winning) opportunity. i love this concept because it not only is beautifully optimistic, it allows people who take risks to not feel like failures if an endeavor doesn’t pan out.

“Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt”

goal: become number uno

Godin stresses that becoming number one is the ultimate goal and it should be the goal you’re striving for. this is the goal you’re putting your precious time, energy, money, and all other resources into. He explains that this really is the only opportunity worth investing in because the rewards are so great. Think about Apple, Starbucks, and Kleenex … they’re number one in their industries.

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

worried your idea isn’t the next Apple? don’t fret. Godin explains the importance of finding your “micro market”. find your niche and be the best at it.

a real-life example of this that Godin explains to readers is that, when the CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, stopped funding any GE business that wasn’t numbers one or two. this gave him a lot of money to work with, which he ended up investing only in products that was the best, almost the best, or had the opportunity to become the best. the outcome was that GE’s market share skyrocketed from $12 billion to $280 billion. Godin goes on to explain that becoming number one means you’ll reap a huge portion of rewards.

“Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”

the dip

this “shoot for the stars” approach is quite inspiring. the only thing i worry about with this advice is that people may not know when quitting is the right and smart move to make. sometimes success is right around the corner. this is where the dip comes into play. a dip is simply a hurdle, setback, or problem that one can overcome with persistence. 

the question when faced with a dip is: do i push through this dip, or do i let the dip end my venture? giving up on getting your book published, getting investors to pick up on your business, or people to believe in your new product is all about planning the dip before it happens. Godin says you need to plan when you’ll hit a dip in momentum before it happens.

the key is to not act on what you’re feeling in the moment of the dip. Instead, determine your limits. what loss of money will make you halt putting money into making your new product? how many more ‘no, thank you’ emails must you receive before you give up on publishing your book? consider the amount of time, money, and energy you are willing to lose. it may be extremely difficult to give up a dream, but knowing when to quit just might save you.

“Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations.”

Godin says that once you assess your limits, you should create a ‘quitting contract’ with yourself to hold yourself to those thoughtful standards. don’t panic! keep calm and check the conditions of your quitting contract. have you met the guidelines on your contract? if the answer is no, then keep going with your brilliant idea. if the answer is yes, it’s time to shift your efforts to something new. either way, you’ve got this.

“People settle. They settle for less than they are capable of.”

don’t settle.