When Quitting is Winning – Tips from The Dip

January 30th, 2011   •   1 comment   

Is it true that quitters never win and winners never quit?

Well, the answer is no – at least according to Seth Godin, business blogger extraordinaire and prolific author of small “hit ’em hard” books.

In the 80 odd pages of “The Dip”, Seth proclaimed that “winners do quit and quitters do win” – provided they do so in the right context.

By focusing on the few areas that make a huge difference while getting rid of everything else, you could set your goals on becoming the best in the world (or at least your country/region) and reap the disproportionate profits that came with it.

This “profit pocket” is where you should aspire to be in the Long-Tail (a concept by Wired magazine’s Chris Anderson).


Courtesy of Seth Godin

In other words, the riches are in the niches, bitches!

Which Career Curve Do You Identify With?

One of the book’s central ideas revolved around three curves,

The first, called The Dip, was one which starts off easy during the initial stages, before plummeting into long and difficult stretch. To succeed, you need to surmount the U-shaped pit and persevere before you finally emerged victorious. It looks like this:

the-dip
Courtesy of First 90 Days of Outside Sales

The second curve was the deadly Cul-de-Sac (or dead-end in French) where you just worked and worked without anything happen. This is the route of those who contend with just being average and getting stuck on a plateau. I’m sure many of you could identify with this.

The third curve was The Cliff, where you could rise all the way to the top but suddenly plummet downwards in a death fall. I think the corporate burnout of jet-setting executives could be symptomatic of this.


Courtesy of Pratolo.com

When Should You Quit?

The book next explained the entire strategy of quitting, and gave good advice on how you should quit smartly – if at all.

Quitting in the Dip is a bad idea. You shouldn’t quit in the midst of panic or difficulty. Instead, you should plan ahead on the appropriate juncture in which to throw in the towel BEFORE encountering the Dip.

Sticking to your guns should only be adopted if you are absolutely sure that you are in a Dip that is worth persevering for.

In Seth’s view, projects stuck in Cul-de-Sacs like the Space Shuttle and the Vietnam War should have been terminated long ago. Pride shouldn’t be a reasons for sticking it out to the end.


Do you agree that the Space Shuttle was a bad idea? (source)

Personally, I found the mantras in the book edifying.

Focusing on the one or two things where we can be the “best in the world” is an invaluable lesson for many of us guilty of being distracted by the “flavours of the month”. I like how we’re also challenged to consider quitting with foresight and preparation, and not when the going gets tough.

Having written that, I felt that we should not use the book as an excuse to seek the easy way out in our jobs, family lives, social circles, or exercise regimes.

While aspiring to be the world’s greatest was a noteworthy goal, you should also be careful about chasing after rainbows in the pursuit of perfection and end up becoming a serial quitter.

PS – Check out my buddy Daniel’s review of this book too.

Tags: , , , , ,

One comment

  1. posted on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    you are really catching up on books! I read The Dip a few years back and remembered liking it alot.

    It’s probably a good book to read again now. It might be quite relevant for me in my current state.

    What’s next on your reading list?

    Since I have plenty of time now, I am hooked on reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (trilogy). Am on my last book now! Great series!

    I am writing a blog post on Audio books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *