The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin
People settle. They settle for less than they are capable of. Organizations settle too. For good enough instead of best in the world.
The reason that big companies almost always fail when they try to enter new markets is their willingness to compromise. They figure that because they are big and powerful, they can settle, do less, stop improving something before it is truly remarkable.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Successful people don’t just ride out the Dip. They don’t just buckle down and survive it. No, they lean into the Dip. They push harder, changing the rules as they go. Just because you know you’re in the Dip doesn’t mean you have to live happily with it. Dips don’t last quite as long when you whittle at them.
There’s not a lot to say about the Cul-de-Sac except to realize that it exists and to embrace the fact that when you find one, you need to get off it, fast. That’s because a dead end is keeping you from doing something else. The opportunity cost of investing your life in something that’s not going to get better is just too high.
Stick with the Dips that are likely to pan out, and quit the Cul-de-Sacs to focus your resources. That’s it.
The biggest obstacle to success in life, as far as I can tell, is our inability to quit these curves soon enough.
In a competitive world, adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition. If that adversity also causes you to quit, though, it’s all for nothing.
It’s easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit.
Quitting when you hit the Dip is a bad idea. If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested. Quit in the Dip often enough and you’ll find yourself becoming a serial quitter, starting many things but accomplishing little.
Simple: If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.
But wait, that’s not enough. Not only do you need to find a Dip that you can conquer but you also need to quit all the Cul-de-Sacs that you’re currently idling your way through. You must quit the projects and investments and endeavors that don’t offer you the same opportunity. It’s difficult, but it’s vitally important.
Quitting creates scarcity; scarcity creates value.
Average feels safe, but it’s not. It’s invisible. It’s the last choice—the path of least resistance. The temptation to be average is just another kind of quitting…the kind to be avoided. You deserve better than average.
While starting up is thrilling, it’s not until you get through the Dip that your efforts pay off.
The Opposite of Quitting Isn’t “Waiting Around” No, the opposite of quitting is rededication. The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.
“Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.” Now that’s good advice.
Quitting Before You Start Here’s an assignment for you: Write it down. Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.
If quitting is going to be a strategic decision that enables you to make smart choices in the marketplace, then you should outline your quitting strategy before the discomfort sets in.
In order to get through that Dip, you’ll need to quit everything else. If it’s not going to put a dent in the world, quit. Right now. Quit and use that void to find the energy to assault the Dip that matters.