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

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
Author: Seth Godin
Publisher: Portfolio
Published: 5/10/2007
In this iconic bestseller, popular business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin proves that winners are really just the best quitters. Godin shows that winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt--until they commit to beating the right Dip.

Book Summary - The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Key Insights

When we find ourselves starting a new endeavor or job, it is important to remember that there will be difficult times ahead. And in Seth Godin’s The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), we learn more about how we can find success with a new career and life decisions.

This book offers a better understanding of when to keep going with a project and when it is time to walk away. Rough patches are a way of life, but knowing how to handle those difficulties and determine the best course of action moving forward is the only way to achieve success in the long run.

Key Points

No matter what you are aiming for in life, there comes a point in time when you experience The Dip, otherwise known as a time of struggle

It doesn’t matter what you are working towards, an athletic achievement, a career advancement, or even starting a new business, there are always times of struggle. These times of struggle are known as The Dip.

When starting a new business, it may feel like everything is going smoothly at first, but then suddenly there may be a challenge thrown your way. This Dip can seem like an insurmountable roadblock, and could even go on for a long period of time, but once you are able to get past these problems, you may find that you are comfortable running a successful business.

However, while The Dip might be a sudden thing, there are ways to build them into a business in order to determine the hardest working employees and those who are the most dedicated as well.

An example of a built-in Dip can be seen in college. Students who choose a degree of study such as a Doctor will often have to take specific classes early on that require a lot of time and patience, and these difficult courses often lead to students giving up before they really get started. This is an example of a built-in Dip that allows you to determine early on in your schooling whether this is the right course of study.

When you recognize early on that you are dealing with a Dip, it can give you a sense of comfort knowing that this is supposed to be a difficult time in order to get to what you want. And typically, once you get passed the Dip, things usually get easier.

There are rewards for being the best

Growing up, we were often told that we should have goals that are realistic and attainable. However, when we reach for the stars and attempt to be our very best at something, there are often much greater rewards.

Being number one at things can often lead to immense profits. But profits and rewards are not the only perks to being the very best.

You can see a boost to business thanks to word-of-mouth, and at the same time, you can also charge more when you’re one of the best. Think of this as being able to charge a premium because you have proven your worth.

When you want to succeed, you need to specialize in something, but also know when to walk away

In grade school, we typically get an all-around education. However, once we leave school, it’s not as important to be good at everything. In fact, you are more likely to find success when you have a specialty.

There are advantages to having a specialty. When you already have a specific set of skills, it can be easier to determine a career path. And even when you are already in a career, having a specialty or a set of skills can be important to success as well. This is because customers aren’t looking for someone average, they want someone who can deliver in ways they never even considered before.

When specializing in something, it is important to learn how to eliminate the things that may get in the way of you doing your best. While we are often taught not to give up or quit, it is important to make choices that benefit you in the long run.

There comes a point in time when you have to make a decision that you aren’t going to master everything, and instead, find ways to be the best at something specific to your career and goals.

The best strategy for success, in the long run, is to make a choice to focus on one skill that you feel the most passionate about.

It is inevitable that you will experience The Dip, even when you are passionate about something or have specialized skills

One thing to remember is that you will experience The Dip in both your personal and professional life. And when you know that a Dip will come, it can allow you to prepare for it.

It’s also important to know that every type of business experiences a Dip, and being familiar with the specific Dips that are associated with your business can help you prepare to handle them.

Whether it is a slow down in business, sales, or even a loss of time, it is important to remember that you can get to the other side of these problems.

Perseverance is the key to getting past The Dip.

Being successful is all about embracing the challenges that come with The Dip and pushing your limits

In order to handle the inevitable Dips in life and business, you must embrace the challenges presented.

No matter what project you may be working on, the most sensible thing to do when faced with a challenge is to welcome it and be thankful for the opportunity it presents. Essentially, “resistance is futile.”

What makes something rewarding is the challenges that you have to overcome. The entire point of taking on a specific job is to face challenges head-on and then find solutions that let you succeed.

In order to grow and develop in life and business, you must be willing to take on the challenges that come your way. Pushing your limits will allow you to not only survive The Dip but also thrive in the midst of the challenge.

You don’t want to stop challenging yourself because you get comfortable, because that will limit your ability to thrive beyond The Dip.

In business, competitors will try to use The Dip to their advantage, and when you survive The Dip you will be able to rise above the mediocre

When you deal with competitors, it can be an unpleasant experience. At times, you may find yourself dealing with both resentment and even treacherous behavior.

Typically a competitor wants you to be in The Dip longer because it benefits them. And when you have a competitor who already has a foothold in the marketplace that you share, they are not going to want you to gain traction, as this pulls from their business.

A major benefit of continuing through The Dip and sticking with your project is that you will not be settling. There is no room for being mediocre in business, and by continuing to challenge yourself and push through The Dip, you are reaching your full potential.

Perseverance can bring out the very best in a person. It can even help to make you even better at your job or whatever skill you are attempting to master.

You can gain invaluable skills from pushing through a Dip and sharpening your knowledge.

Patience and grit are the only way to survive a Dip

If it feels like things are getting slow or stopping altogether, it can be tempting to move to something else. However, a determination is the key to success. This means utilizing grit and patience to achieve success.

In business, a study has shown that most sales reps will give up after five pitches that do not result in a sale. However, that same study found that it often takes seven pitches for a customer to commit to a product. This means that those reps gave up before they could solidify a sale. Had they been willing to persevere and push on, they would have achieved success.

That same level of determination and patience can help a business get through The Dip before their product achieves success.

Although we seem to live in a world where people are quick to buy the latest innovation to hit the market, that’s not always what happens. In fact, the public often waits to find out if the product hitting the market is of a higher quality. Before a customer is willing to part with their money, they want to see that the product in question is reliable or even potentially prestigious.

This means that even a product that is the result of a brilliant idea can find itself in The Dip longer than expected until it is able to achieve a sense of popularity.

When things are difficult, don’t lose sight of the experiences you have gained

We have already established that it is important to have the determination and persevere through The Dip, however, we also have to know when to cut our losses and walk away.

It’s important to pay attention to when things are falling apart to a point that they cannot be repaired. At the same time, there are ways to quit something that is not working, while also continuing to be a part of the field that you have chosen.

Once you realize that something is not working, it becomes clear that you should not be allowing it to continue draining your resources, energy, and time. However, just because you are walking away from a failing project, that doesn’t mean you would walk away from the market you have already learned so much about. (Walking away from all that experience and knowledge would be an additional drain on your resources and time.)

Whenever the urge to quit comes over you, it is important to first consider all of your options. Take your time to think beyond the obvious and try to be creative.

When you find yourself in The Dip, this is not the time to doubt yourself. Instead, use this period of difficulty to either find a new direction or even find an alternative to whatever is creating a roadblock to your success.

Use The Dip to make yourself stronger. And remember, when you push forward, you can take pride in the fact that you have risen to the challenge.

The Main Take-away

Whether in business or in life, you want to be the very best at what you do. Find a skill that you are passionate about and focus your time and energy on improving that skill until it is a specialty of yours.

Everyone faces challenges, often known as The Dip, where you face struggles that require a lot of effort with little reward. However, knowing that The Dip is coming, can help prepare you for what you will face. Patience and perseverance will help you to get passed The Dip.

Getting passed the Dip will lead to improved skills and even a better position in the market.

About the Author

Seth Godin is an American author and dot com, business executive. He is the founder of Seth Godin Productions, a book packaging business, which he sold to his employees to focus on his next startup. He and Mark Hurst then founded Yoyodyne, where he promoted the concept of permission marketing. He sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo for about $30 million and became Yahoo’s vice president of direct marketing. In 2006, he launched Squidoo, one of the 500 most visited sites in the world. He eventually sold Squidoo to HubPages. He graduated from Tufts University and Stanford.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *