Seth Godin has written a TON of really good books on business, ranging from the “Purple Cow” to “Tribes”.
He’s considered as one of the best authors in the entrepreneurial world, if you’re into business/entrepreneurship, the odds are high that you’ve been recommended one of his books at least once.
“The Dip – A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick)” is one of his most popular books and one that has definitely had a big impact on hundreds, if not thousands of lives. This is not an exaggeration, I literally mean CHANGED LIVES, in a really really huge way.
In this post, I’ll do my best to give you an overview of what the book is about, how it applies to a variety of fields and how I’m applying it to this very blog.
If you haven’t already read it, I’m absolutely certain that you will want to at the end of this post.
What Exactly Is The Point of “The Dip”?
Since the day you’re born, the majority of people will tell you to “never quit”. There are hundreds of popular quotes and mantras that instill the idea that quitting is bad.
A good example of this is by Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful American football coaches ever, who said – “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
The Dip is almost the opposite of this belief.
Seth Godin says: “Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt”
When you really think about it, it makes sense. At least it makes a whole lot more sense than the idea of never quitting.
“The Dip” Is a Learning Curve
No matter what you do, whether it be in acquiring a new skill, improving your business, writing a blog post..
There’s always a learning curve to it, that’s common sense, right?
When you first start, you’re most excited about the project and since you usually have no previous knowledge about it, you have a whole lot to learn.
That’s the beginning of the learning curve, you see a LOT of progress, rapidly and that enthusiasm allows you to persist and enjoy it.
Then comes “The Dip”.
You’ve gotten past the basics and things start to get hard. You can’t just open up a guide and keep on going the way you started. You have to do something new, something a whole lot harder.
Here are a few examples from things I’ve done:
- In breakdancing, the dip comes when you’ve gotten down the basic moves. You have your six step and other footwork down, you know all of the standard top rock moves and maybe even a powermove like the Windmill.Now things get hard, you’re not making any new progress and things may seem a bit “pointless”.What is getting past the dip in this scenario? It’s the point when you’re able to just listen to the music and go “freestyle”. You don’t have to think about basic moves, but instead start combining them and being creative with the “stock moves”. Once you start hitting the beat and have the ability to not overthink, breakdancing becomes fun again and you start seeing progress.
- You’re trying to get a six pack. You know that it really is as simple as shedding off some fat off your stomach. It’s really simple.You’ve lost 5 kg and seem to be almost there, your beer-belly is gone and you can see the top part of your abs.Your usual caloric deficit stops working and you start thinking that “this is good enough, at least I’ve made some progress” and then you stop.The Dip is as simple as lowering your calories by another hundred or taking your dog out for an extra 30 minute walk before you go to bed.
Being the “Best in the World” Is Highly Underrated
One of the concepts Godin covers in the book is Zipf’s Law, which basically means that when the best in the world “win”, they win BIG.
The best example of this was with ice cream flavors (Yum.)
He took the ten most popular flavors from statistics. The most popular flavor was Vanilla, the second Chocolate and then a bunch of other ones after that.
What’s the point?
Vanilla is FOUR times more popular than chocolate and chocolate did better than all of the others COMBINED.
Zipf’s Law in SEO
Since this is an internet marketing blog, I can imagine a few people not relating to ice cream very well.
Here’s a study done in 2011 about the distribution of traffic in Google’s SERPs. They measured the click through rates of results from 1-20.
The #1 spot gets approximately 36.4% of all the traffic.
The next best, #2 (duh) only gets 12.5% of the total.
That’s nearly a 3x difference from moving up just one spot. In a popular industry this could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars a day.
Nowadays the difference could be even bigger. Imagine if the #1 spot had Google Authorship images, rich snippets for reviews or a personal knowledge graph to increase the CTR.
So What’s The Problem?
It’s common sense that you need to be the best, persist through the hurdles and persevere.
BUT, there’s a catch to the whole thing.
Winners quit the right stuff, at the right time.
The Two Learning Curves
There are two main learning curves to anything.
The first one is “The Dip”, which is what we’ve been talking about so far.
That’s when you get quick results, get into the dip and things get hard, really hard. BUT, there’s always a BIG reward in the end, past the dip.
When you get into a dip, that means you’ve already gotten past the “initial phase”. Odds are that you’ve invested a bunch of time, money and other resources to get there. This is the WORST time to quit, period.
If you’ve gotten yourself into the dip, it’s your duty to persevere and keep climbing that hill, no matter how hard it is.
If this seems stupid, you’ve gotten yourself in the wrong thing to do in the first place. Keep reading and try again.
The second learning curve is “The Cul-de-Sac” or Dead-end
A Cul-de-Sac is your average dead-end.
This could be your current 9-5 to job, the relationship you’ve been in for six months, or that skill you were trying to learn, which you really didn’t care about.
Dead-ends can seem exciting and they keep you busy. But. They will not get you anywhere (hence the name, dead-end)
If you find yourself in the cul-de-sac, you need to quit and you need to quit fast.
It’s really not just about making no progress, the real problem is in the opportunity cost.
The time and resources you spend in that cul-de-sac, getting nowhere, could be allocated to you TRUE PASSION, the dip you’re trying to get through.
Every single minute you waste in that dead-end, is a minute you’ll never get back, which will only take you further away from your ultimate goal.
You could be making a major difference in the world, think about it.
I just couldn’t insist, I had to make this a chapter on it’s own. This is a perfect example.
Imagine the woodpecker.
How do you think it could get further with it’s goal?
- Pecking on a thousand different trees, 20 times (As entrepreneurs like to say, “to see what sticks”)
- Pecking 20,000 times on one tree
The answer is quite obvious and THAT is the difference between a dip and a dead-end.
Yes it’s boring to peck on one tree 20,000 times, that’s the freakin’ dip!
That’s the only reason there’s a big reward in the end, not everyone is willing to lean into the dip and get through it.
It’s a lot easier to hop from one thing to the other, because it’s more interesting, but ultimately it will get you nowhere.
What the Hell? This Is All Common Sense!
It might be common sense, but why is almost NO ONE doing it? You’re not doing it, I’m not doing it and a billion other people are not doing it on a regular basis.
Absolutely everything you get into, whether it be fly fishing, getting an apprenticeship in another country, or starting your own blog.
YOU NEED TO ANALYZE IT!
- Is it a dip? Is it a dead-end?
- How long and steep is the dip?
- Do you have enough resources to push though the dip and become the best?
- Is this something you actually care about, or is it the initial excitement?
Think about it. Write it down. Make a plan.
The Planning Part & How I’m Applying The Dip to IM Livin’
Here are the eight main reasons people quit in the dip & my solutions to it, for my blog.
- You run out of time – Bollocks, stop watching “Scrubs” and you’ll find a few hours a week at least, to get started on writing a blog post.
- You run out of money – You can get hosting for anywhere from $5 to $2o a month, maybe even cheaper. Skip the Starbucks (or Statoil). Simple.
- You get scared – Yes, I’m scared that no one will ever read this post after putting 7 hours in it. Who cares? Even if only one person reads it, it might change their life. Writing this post will even have a big impact on me, constantly reminding me about these things and making me think through the whole concept.
- You’re not serious about what you’re doing – Refer to point #8, you’re probably in the wrong thing.
- You lose interest – Yes it’d be a bummer if I’d written 200 posts and invested thousands of hours into it, with only five readers. BUT, I ENJOY IT. There’s value in it for me, no matter how many readers this thing gets.
- You settle for being mediocre – Becoming the best is hard, really hard so you eventually stop trying. What you have to realize is that being mediocre will not put you in a better place, no matter what.
- You think short-term – You could get boggled down in misery and do something stupid. Sell-out to some “guru” to make a quick buck. Stop.
- You’re in the WRONG THING – I’m sure it happens to everyone, including Mr. Godin himself. You get into the wrong dip, you waste your resources and realize that it’s not for you. Sometimes you have to face that, and re-coup your losses. Shit happens. Think about what you want, analyze and go at it again.
Become the Best in the World? You’re Loco!
This is something I had always gotten wrong, before I read “The Dip”.
When you think about best in the world, you think about people like Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Oprah, Donald Trump or Pat Flynn.
That’s wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.
The world is TINY.
When he says best in the world, that doesn’t mean you have to own a billion dollar company or best-selling book right away.
When you have cancer, or need a dentist, or want a designer for your (my) ugly blog.
Odds are that you’re not really looking for the best in the world, at least not THAT world.
You want the best in YOUR WORLD.
The best doctor in your city, that has an open slot, that is affordable for your budget, the one that your friend recommended to you.
The best designer you’ve heard of, that does blogs, offers Skype support and doesn’t charge $5500 for a simple logo.
I’d like to thank everyone who made through all of this and I hope you gained at least some value from it.
I’m sure there are a few people who are interested in the book, you can buy it from Amazon below, but it’s also on Audible, if you’re more into audiobooks.
Below is my affiliate link, which means that I get a small commission if you buy the book through that. At first I didn’t want to add it, because I don’t really care about the pennies I’d make from it and it’s kind of cheesy starting my first post off with an affiliate link BUT.
It won’t hurt you to buy through it, and I know that what I’m recommending IS WORTH IT.
I didn’t write this post to make a commission, I really believe in The Dip and it truly is my bible. I think the featured image of this post, of the book cover next to Tupac Shakur on my wall kind of proves that.
Hope you enjoy the book.
My Last Call to Action
The last thing I ask of anyone who has made it this far.
Please leave a comment with your experiences with dips.
Have you ever quit in a dip? Do you know a dip you should lean through? Does this make any sense?
Any criticism is highly welcome. I intend to make this page a resource for the long-term, which means I’ll constantly be editing it and making it more in-depth and hopefully, better.
Mr. Godin, if you ever happen to read this post..
Thanks a ton for everything you’ve written, spoken and done.
You’ve made a huge difference in the world. Keep it up!
More posts to come on Godin’s books, definitely including Purple Cow & Tribes.