The Dip by Seth Godin


Winners never quit is an incorrect statement; they do quit, they just know what to quit and when.

Two Key Takeaways

  1. When starting a new venture or skill, know when to quit. Have it outlined and don't quit unless you reach that threshold
  2. Sometimes quitting is the best way to reinvent yourself in an organization. Don't mistake being in a cul-de-sac for being in The Dip.

Part 1: Being the Best in the World is Seriously Underrated

  • MYTH - Winners don't quit
  • TRUTH - Winners do quit. The just quit the right stuff at the right time.
  • Michael Jordan quit baseball to focus on basketball in high school. Think he regrets doing that?
  • The reason people end up being the best in the world is they were able to push through the mundane and the boring long enough to become the best.
  • Zipf's Law - The people who are #1 get much more results (money, followers, capital) then number two because the marketplace loves a winner
  • "Just about everything you learned in school is wrong, but the wrongest might very well be this: Being well rounded is the secret to success
  • Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations. Reactive quitting and serial quitting just leaves your burnout, frustrated, and like you haven't accomplished anything

Three Types of Curves:

  • Curve 1 - The Dip
  • The low point after the initial excitement of learning a new skill or starting a new project. This could be the paperwork to get certified, the legal stuff to starting a business, etc.
  • Being able to stick through the dip longer, lean into the dip, and make something of it are the people who end up on top.
  • The Dip filters out all the people who weren't motivated. This is why people on the other side of the dip of highly compensated - scarcity. Scarcity creates value.
  • Curve 2 - The Cul De Sac
  • Going around and around in a dead end, hoping for a way out
  • Doing the hard things; dealing with the annoying customer for example, is the reason you're not replaceable. Be thankful for the dip.
  • "A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere but stay busy, or he can tap on one tree twenty-thousand times and get dinner" You decide which woodpecker to be
  • Simple Rule to Follow - If you can't make it through the dip, don't start.
  • Curve 3 - The Cliff

Seven Reasons You Might Fail to Become the Best in The World

  1. You would run out of time (and quit)
  2. You run out of money (and quit)
  3. You get scared (and quit)
  4. You're not serious about it (and quit)
  5. You lose interest or settle for being mediocre (and quit)
  6. You focus on the short term instead of the long term (and quit when the short term gets too hard)
  7. You pick the wrong thing at which to be the best in the world (because you don't have the talent and quit)

  8. There are only two options: (1) Quit or (2) Be Exceptional. Average is for losers
  9. The opposite of quitting isn't trying harder. The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy designed to break the problem apart.

Part 2: If You're Not Going to Get to #1, You Might as Well Quit Now

  • Failing and quitting are not one and the same. Failing happens when there are no other options to pursue your dream, or when you quit so often that you've used up all your time and resources.
  • Instead of, "Winners never quit" mantra, it should be, "Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can't deal with the stress of the moment."

Three Questions to Ask Before Quitting

  1. Am I panicking?
  2. Who am I trying to influence?
  3. What sort of measurable progress am I making?

  4. The tactics you use in your organization are not the organization. The moment the way you do business is no longer part of winning The Dip - you must switch tactics.
  5. Write down on a piece of paper when you're willing to quit
  6. If I lose $2,000 in one year of operations, I'm out.
  7. Don't enter a market that's too big for you to make a splash in. The pressure will be too high and your message will get lost. Pick a small market and grow from there.


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