The Dip, by Seth Godin - The Gambler's Advice When in Your Business Building Dip
It is not just quitting to quit, but knowing when to quit
Quitting is a strategic decision. The intent behind quitting is to
quit the tactics that aren't working but staying the course on
your long-term vision/direction. It is about understanding the
"architecture of quitting and understanding the difference
between strategic quitting and reactive/serial quitting.
What We Learned is All Wrong
In school we learned that being well-rounded was the secret to success.
But in the real world, being the best in a specialized area counts more.
"In a free market, we reward the exceptional."
Being the Best
Being the best usually means you get 10 to 100 times more benefit than being
number 2. The "system" is set up to weed out the average and mediocre, so
being the best counts because being the best pays off big.
The 1st reason being the
best matters is because
society is too lazy to search
out the best, so it usually
chooses what is already the
best in the market. "Most
people are waiting for the
tested, authenticated, and
the proven." Society
rewards you for being the
best by giving you business.
The 2nd reason is scarcity. There are only a few people at the top. Most
people don't want to do the work and make the choices required to be
the best. Those who make it to the top reap the rewards. The rewards
are income, attention, privileges, and respect.
"Best" is in the Eye of the Beholder
The best" is a subjective judgment and is centered on who is defining
what "the best" is. When you select the best, you're selecting according
to what is happening in your world right now. You have to be the best
because there are so many choices available.
The Curves - Defining When to Quit
When you start something new, everything is fun and exciting, and you
stay engaged. But then you experience a curve. Curves define almost
any situation, and the type of curve will tell you when you need to quit.
There are three types of curves, the Dip, the Cul-de-Sac, and the Cliff.
The Dip happens when you find
yourself struggling to just get
through to the end result. "The
Dip is the combination of
bureaucracy and busywork
you must deal with." It's the stuff
you have to work through
before you see the light at the
end of the tunnel. The dip is the
stuff between when you start
and when you make a real
The Cul-de-sac, which is French
for dead end, is where you work
and work but nothing happens or
changes, everything stays the
same. When you find yourself on a
cul-de-sac, get off fast. Why? "The
opportunity cost of investing your
life in something that's not going
to get better is just too high."
The Cliff is the situation "where you
can't quit but you end up falling
off, and the whole thing falls apart."
Godin's example of the cliff is
cigarettes. When someone starts
smoking, they think they can quit at
any time, but then they become
addicted and reach a point where
they can't quit and end up "falling
off the cliff."
Anything that's worth doing probably has a Dip. A champion will push through the Dip even
though it's tempting to quit. Both the Cul-de-sac and Cliff lead to failure. If you're on one of these
two curves, you need to quit. "What's the point of sticking it out if you're not going to get the
benefits of being the best in the world?" Bottom line: "The Dip is the secret to your success." The
Dip is actually a short cut as long as you work at it. Getting through the Dip and getting to the
next level takes time and energy. As a result, you become the best.
"The dip creates scarcity; scarcity creates value."
Quitting is Necessary to Become the Best
There are only two choices when deciding on a new endeavor, quit or be
exceptional. Remember, the system is set up for you to quit, so that only those who
are willing to work through the Dip will reap the benefits and rewards on the other
side. Only a few will make it through the Dip because the rest quit while they're in the
Dip, thus wasting the time and resources they've already invested in the endeavor.
People who get through the Dip generate more value and will achieve
extraordinary results. Quit the things you don't value or are mediocre at
(the cul-de-sacs) and focus your resources on the things you do care
about and can be the best at.
Quitting is a "go-up opportunity."
" The "brave thing," is to tough it out and reap all the benefits of scarcity on the other side.
The "mature thing" is to not start, especially if you know you're not going to make it through
the Dip. "If you're going to quit, quit before you start. Reject the system. Don't play the
game if you realize you can't be the best in the world." The "stupid thing" is to start, give it
your best effort, and then quit in the middle of the Dip. When you quit in the middle of the
Dip, you waste time and money. Avoid doing the "stupid thing."
“Quitting is difficult.”
The "stupid thing"
To Quit or Not to Quit, That is the Question
When you're on a dead end path, a plateau, a Cul-De-Sac; when you facing a Cliff; and
when you're working on a project where the Dip isn't worth the reward. If you don't quit,
you're settling for average. "If you're not able to get through the Dip in an exceptional way,
then you must quit." It's okay to quit often. Just "quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff.
Have the guts to do one or the other." Write down the circumstances under which you'll
quit. Determine your strategy before you quit.
Failure and Coping - Poor Substitutes for Quitting
"Strategic quitting is a conscious choice decision you make based on the choices that are
available to you." Failing is when you give up on your dream or you've used up all your time and
resources because you've quit so often. "Quitting smart is a great way to avoid failing." Coping is
not a good substitute for quitting. Coping is what you do when you muddle through something.
Coping leads to mediocre performance. Coping wastes your time and your resources.
Beating the Dip
First, know that there is a Dip. Second, believe you can get through it. Third, quit
the Cul-De-Sacs so you have the resources and the will to get through the Dip.
Get through the Dip by changing your tactics, not the big idea. You quit the tactics that
are not working, not the strategy. You quit as a long-term strategy, not a short-term answer.
"If you can't make it through the Dip, don't start."
People who quit are usually focused on the short-term benefit, they want to stop hurting.
Instead focus on the long-term benefits of not quitting. "Persistent people are able to
visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can't see it. At the same
time, the smartest people are realistic about not imagining light when there isn't any.”
Three Questions to Ask Before Quitting
1. Panicking happens in the moment, unexpectedly. Quitting when you're panicked is bad timing and
could be costly. The best time to quit is when you decide to, meaning you've already thought it
2. It's better to quit because you'll have a greater influence on the market or community, than to quit
because of one person. The market/community behaves different than the individual. The market is
made up of many minds, so you're not limited to just one person's view of the world. People in the
market are influenced by the market. You have to change the mind of an individual if you want
them to change, which is difficult to do, because their perspective is based on their world view.
3. There are only three choices with regard to progress, moving forward, falling behind, or standing still.
Don't stick with something when there is not forward progress. Forward progress is more than just
1. Am I panicking? 2. Who am I trying to Influence?
3. What measureable progress am I making?
Godin's curves remind me of chorus to the song "the Gambler" by Kenny Rogers: "Ev'ry
gambler knows that the secret to survivin' Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what
to keep. 'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser, And the best that you can
hope for is to die in your sleep." You got to know when to Hold 'em (work through the Dip)
Know when to Fold 'em (try a different tactic) Know when to Walk away (know when to
quit) Know when Run (get off the Cul-De-Sac and the Cliff)
"If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya
gotta learn to play it right."
So when you're in the middle
of the Dip as you build your
business, contemplate the
consequences of quitting and
heed the Gambler's "words of
Thank You Very Much
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