“Quite or be exceptional. Average is for losers.” – Seth Godin
You probably already know Seth Godin because of his popular blog. Who doesn’t know him? If you don’t, I seriously think it should be on your must read list. For the others, it’s also possible that you know him because of one of his seventeen books. He’s a best selling author. On the top of my mind I can think of books like Tribes, Purple Cow and Lynchpin. In the field of marketing, Seth is a great and popular writer. For The Dip, he went in a different direction. This book isn’t about marketing. It’s a book about motivation and life decisions. The main idea is “when to stick or when to quit”. This is the core of the book. Well obviously, the author push the subject deeper than its surface. The book is quite short, less than a hundred pages, but it very interesting. Believe me, it is worth it. Recently, I had a few problems with a project. I was about to quit. Then, this book came back to my mind. The project was saved. Thank you Seth.
Godin advocate that we should know when to quit. Many projects are dead ends and shouldn’t be pursued. That’s a problem we often meet. Let’s take the example of someone who isn’t able to let go a business that isn’t worth a shit. Another common example is staying in a job with no possibilities of advancement in salary or/and responsibilities. It’s the idea of accepting a permanent status quo. This kind of situation is a dead end in the pure sense of the word. It’s not even a dip. If you work harder, nothing will change. On my part, I can say I had that exact problem when I was in university. I’ve forced myself to complete a bachelor in a field that I had zero intention of working in afterward. My decision was already taken at the end of my first year. At that time, my motto was: “always finish what you start”. What a dumb idea! Looking back at it, it was a useless “pride” problem. Pride can easily be the cause of a dip.
On the opposite side, some people quit way too soon. I’ve seen a lot of people starting weightlifting with promise. Things would go well for a few weeks, then whitout warning they would vanish from the surface of the earth. No explanations, total mystery. The problem is that we all start things with ease. After the honeymoon, things start to get hard…sometime really hard. That’s “the dip” and that’s where most people will quit. When I’ve started snowboard, everything was easy at first. I had a teacher and everything was going fine. Once the teacher was gone, the dip came and my snowboard adventure was over. I could make a very long list of all the things “dips” have crushed in my life. The problem is that we want it easy, we want the quick fix mentality. We are pain avoidant. As soon as things will get hard, resistance will tune in and we’ll most likely quit.
People who do great things are the one who get through dips. They see the light at the end of the tunnel where others aren’t able to see it. It’s accepting the long term rewards. Being on the other side mean big opportunities. Godin is right when he says that we should never start something if we intend to quit when we reach “the dip”. Otherwise, it’s a total waste of time and energy. It’s making a habit out of it. Like Godin said, you’ll become a serial quitter. Starting one thing after another and never finishing anything. Quitting is most likely a bad decision at a bad moment. One of the best advice I got from this book is to never take a decision during a crisis. We tend to make big moves during those times of panic. In other words: “Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.“. The best thing to do is to wait and take you decision when calm is back.
Nobody can avoid the dip. Not you, not me. The only difference is how we react when we meet one. The next time things start to get hard, you’ll know that are going down in a dip. The good news is that you can reach the other side. Remember, hard work and persistence can lead to big rewards. Be great or quit. It’s the only solution.