Title: The Dip
Author: Seth Godin
Published: May 2007
Number of Pages: 96
The old saying is wrong—winners do quit, and quitters do win.
Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point—really hard, and not much fun at all.
And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.
According to bestselling author Seth Godin, what really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.
Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it. If you can become number one in your niche, you’ll get more than your fair share of profits, glory, and long-term security.
Losers, on the other hand, fall into two basic traps. Either they fail to stick out the Dip—they get to the moment of truth and then give up—or they never even find the right Dip to conquer.
Whether you’re a graphic designer, a sales rep, an athlete, or an aspiring CEO, this fun little book will help you figure out if you’re in a Dip that’s worthy of your time, effort, and talents. If you are, The Dip will inspire you to hang tough. If not, it will help you find the courage to quit—so you can be number one at something else.
Seth Godin doesn’t claim to have all the answers. But he will teach you how to ask the right questions. [From Goodreads
No one knows more about the way you think than you do.
In The Dip, Seth Godin puts to rest the myth that winners never quit, insisting that winners quit better than anyone else.
This seemingly contradictory statement disguises a simple idea: Winners know which roads to take and which ones to not bother with. Or, in Godin’s terms, winners know which Dips to struggle through and which aren’t worth the trouble. The Dip is the struggle on the way to success, the conflict that must be overcome before one can be successful. The Dip may be stress, lack of confidence, or more tangible problems like too few funds. Whatever it is, it must be surpassed in order for one to become “the best in the world.”
Godin’s primary point is that Dips are tiring, but worthwhile if you chose to fight through the correct Dips. If you’re wasting time and energy working through a Dip that will only lead to average, quit now. Quit fast. Reserve that time and energy for a Dip on the way to something extraordinary – something at which you will be the best in the world.
My qualm with the book is its repetitiousness. It seems many books of this sort fall into this trap. The same hypothesis is repeated over and over again. Of course, this is probably an attempt to remind the reader what the point is, but I found that it started to feel childish. I wanted to tell Godin that my attention span was longer than he was giving me credit for. Naturally, this is a small and petty issue when I consider the fact that I do think his theory is intriguing, not to mention the fact that the book can easily be read in little over an hour.
Though not a primary facet of his argument, I found Godin’s discussion of what being the best in the world means fascinating. He argues that “best” is entirely subjective. If someone wants their carpet cleaned, they won’t look for the best lawyer in the world, they’ll look for the best carpet cleaner. It stands to reason, then, that there are countless opportunities to be “the best in the world” – you simply need to figure out which niche you will excel in.
This aspect of the book was particularly interesting to me because it’s so promising. It operates as motivation to read and follow the rest of Godin’s guidance. It assures us that all the fumbling and confusion that we’ll have to deal with as we strive toward greatness will be worth the reward, as long as we’re working toward the right goal. Since when do people not want to hear, “It will be all right in the end?” The fantastic thing about Godin, though, is that he means it. He’s sure of it. His certainty not only in his method, but in the reader, is encouraging. It’s also rather infectious.
Ultimately, The Dip is a little book with a short but paradigm-shifting message: Figure out what you don’t want and quit messing with it. Figure out what you do want and fight till you’ve got it.