The only reason to stay is the short-term pain associated with quitting. Winners understand that taking that pain now prevents a lot more pain later. Don’t spend another day behind others who are learning something more useful.
What is the Dip? The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery. It is also a little book by Seth Godin, a serial entrepreneur and outstanding business blogger. The author teaches here when to quit, and when to stick.
The Dip is a one of a kind book revealing the common, fundamental blue print to anything from relationships, jobs, entrepreneurship, love, dreams and life projects. In his words:
Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
It hurts to be average
When it comes right down to it, right down to the hard decisions, are you quitting any project that isn’t a Dip? Or is it just easier not to rock the boat, to hang in there, to avoid the short-term hassle of changing paths? What’s the point of sticking it out if you’re not going to get the benefits of being the best in the world? Don’t play the game if you realize you can’t be exceptional. Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers. Average feels safe, but it’s not. It’s invisible. The temptation to be average is just another kind of quitting… the kind to be avoided. You deserve better than average.
Cul-de-sac or Dip? Pick your Dip!
The common choice, the choice to give it a shot and then quit, is the choice you must avoid if you want to succeed. Quitting when you hit the Dip is a bad idea. If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.
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. Do you have the guts to quit when facing a Cul-de-Sac? Don’t spend the rest of your life doing something you don’t enjoy in order to preserve your pride.
Be the designer of the valley of death
That’s the goal of any competitor: to create a Dip so long and so deep that the nascent competition can’t catch up. Microsoft does it. They’ve built so many relationships and established so many standards that it’s essentially inconceivable that someone will challenge Word or Excel.
Tactics < market
Godin shines here with the idea of engagement. He suggests we should focus on a market, a big idea, a main Dip, and find our way to the top by avoiding falling in love with a tactic (a product, a feature, a design) and defend it forever. The opposite of quitting is rededication. The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.
A small measure of method
Realizing that quitting is worth your focus and consideration is the first step to becoming the best in the world. The next step is to ask three questions:
1. Am I panicking? Decide in advance when to quit. Design your quitting compass or plan.
2. Who am I trying to influence? It is easier to influence a market of people than individuals
3. What sort of measurable progress am I making? You don’t define yourself by the tactics you use. A job is just a tactic. Build your foundation in one market.
The message is that quitting is going to be a strategic decision that enables you to make smart choices in your life. Boy do I wish this could have been the main topic in university! It would have changed my life then. We all want to make a difference, to be significant. The Dip is the route to get there. Godin has seeded some traffic signs throughout the reading: letting go is a great way to grow.
This book was spectacular and Godin’s blog is too. Don’t believe me yet? He finishes The Dip with “Short books are hard to write. Write less.” I leave you here.