The Dip is another great book from prolific author Seth Godin. In the world of marketing, Seth Godin is a legend. However, this book is targeted towards a wider audience. Anyone who works on personal projects understands the pain and frustration involved. It can get so bad that we want to quit. But Seth believes quitting is not always a bad thing - as long as we quit the right things at the right time.
1) The Dip creates scarcity, which creates value
“The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery…Scarcity, as we’ve seen, is the secret to value. If there wasn’t a Dip, there’d be no scarcity.”
Every project worth doing involves obstacles along the way. If you expect The Dip, then you can prepare for it. If you're not ready for The Dip and the challenges it brings, then don't bother starting in the first place. But know that the rewards at the top are the best for a reason. People quit because of The Dip, which leads to scarcity, which means the most value is just beyond The Dip.
2) Quit the right stuff at the right time
“Sometimes we get discouraged and turn to inspirational writing, like stuff from Vince Lombardi: 'Quitters never win and winners never quit.' Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time. Most people quit. They just don’t quit successfully.”
Quitting is not inherently a bad thing. Depending on the situation, it could be the best decision. But instead of quitting reactively, we should quit strategically. Don't quit just because things start to get challenging. Quit things that are distracting you from what is most important. Quit things that are leading you down a dead end.
3) Decide in advance if you're going to quit
“When the pressure is greatest to compromise, to drop out, or to settle, your desire to quit should be at its lowest. The decision to quit is often made in the moment. But that’s exactly the wrong time to make such a critical decision.”
The decision to quit should not be made in the moment. This is when it is most tempting to quit. Your quitting strategy should be outlined beforehand. You should prepare yourself for the future discomfort before it arrives.
4) Be the best in the world at something
“Anyone who is going to hire you, buy from you, recommend you, vote for you, or do what you want them to do is going to wonder if you’re the best choice. Best as in: best for them, right now, based on what they believe and what they know. And in the world as in: their world, the world they have access to.”
If you're not going to try and be the best, why even start? People want the best. The "best" is subjective though, meaning that it is relative to the needs and desires of every individual. But technology continues to increase access to everything for everyone in the world. So if you're going to compete in some area with everything out there, you better be the best.
5) Don't settle for mediocre
“It’s easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit. Quitting is difficult. Quitting requires you to acknowledge that you’re never going to be #1 in the world. At least not at this. So it’s easier just to put it off, not admit it, settle for mediocre…The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, realize that you have only two good choices: Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”
Sometimes we have to put our pride aside and admit that we're never going to be the best at something. This can be a humbling experience. But once you admit this, it frees you to focus on another project that better coincides with your strengths and interests.