Book Summary: “The Dip” by Seth Godin

I was always under the impression that successful people finish what they started. In “The Dip”, Seth Godin posits that successful people are really serial quitters. They’re just good at determining when to quit and when to stick with it to the end. Godin provides a criteria you can use to do the same:

SUMMARY:

  1. Don’t start unless you are ready to see it through to the end. This prevents spoilage of resources (i.e., your time, effort and/or money).
  2. Set a predetermined criteria for quitting before you begin. The criteria should consider some of the points below.
  3. Quit when you:
    1. no longer desire the goal or want to reach your maximum potential
    2. are only sticking with it to avoid the pain of adapting
    3. are on a path that leads to nowhere (i.e., staying in a failing industry)
    4. see no improvement
    5. don’t have the resources or time to pursue
    6. have reached the predetermined point at which you are permitted to quit
  4. Don’t quit when you:
    1. still have a desire to reach the goal
    2. have the talent to get there (i.e., the ability to acquire the necessary skills at a faster rate than others)
    3. can see evidence of improvement, no matter how small or slow-going
    4. are experiencing self-doubt
    5. are otherwise emotional/overwhelmed
  5. Why people don’t quit when they should:
    1. to save face / pride
    2. unable to adapt to changing environments or cues
    3. to not waste the resources already invested (not taking into account that more resources will continue to be wasted on a failing endeavor)
  6. Tips on how to get through the dip:
    1. Don’t start unless you desire to finish
    2. Identify beforehand at which instances you are permitted to quit. 
    3. Don’t coast. Lean into the challenge to hone your skills.
    4. Notice your wins, especially the small ones. 
    5. Remind yourself of the long-term benefits to get past short-term pain
  7. Benefits of The Dip:
    1. Weeds out the competition. Only those with the passion, talent and dedication make it through to the end.
    2. Creates value. Opportunity through scarcity. Not very many people can get through the dip to make it to expert level, which is why expert level becomes so valuable
    3. Helps you focus. The only way you can make it through the Dip is by choosing something you love doing, because things will get hard. The only thing that will keep you moving forward is your love of the task you’ve chosen.
  8. Tips on How to Choose Your Focus:
    1. You love doing this task/have a passion for it
    2. It comes easily to you. Not that it won’t get hard at some point. But this just means that relative to others, you pick up on things in regards to it faster.
    3. You have the resources (e.g., time, energy, etc.) to complete it
    4. It is valuable to society. Everything else will become back burner.
  9. Why quitting is beneficial:
    1. Helps free up resources to dedicate to something that you can see through to the end.

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