The Dip is the 10th installment to Seth Godin’s published works. To capture its essence, The Dip sets out to differentiate between strategic quitting and reactive quitting.
Godin defines the Dip as the space between beginning and mastery and that if you can get past the Dip in an extraordinary way, you can be a superstar. “To be a superstar, you must do something exceptional. Not just survive the Dip, but use the Dip as an opportunity to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and, yes, choose it.”
To make it simpler, portrait sketching seems like a pretty cool thing to learn maybe even easy in the beginning, because what’s so difficult about drawing one eye right? Maybe you’re even really good at it, but later when you get to drawing the other eyes, or the nose and chin, you just can’t seem to get it right. You try and try only to fail again. That is the Dip when you face a slump so bad that it makes you want to quit. So what then?
Godin explains that The Dip is an essential tool that not only filters out the quitters and creates value for those who stay back but it also prepares you for “the cliff”.
The Cliff is the upward curve that one reaches after having conquered the Dip. But, coming out on the cliff isn’t the only that matters, Godin writes “If you’re not able to get through the Dip in an exceptional way, you must quit. And quit right now.” Essentially, Godin believes that if you’re not aiming towards being the best or the second best at what it is you are doing, then there is no point in reaching the cliff if it means that you will just fall off the end of it. He says “If you’re not able to get through the Dip in an exceptional way, you must quit. And quit right now.” Taking the sketching example again, you’re doing well, you’ve learned how to portraits perfectly and you’re at the Cliff now, but what next? You’ve achieved what you said out to but what’s after that, are you waiting to just fall off the Cliff? No, now you u either look for more ways to stretch out the Cliff (like maybe trying new sketching styles) or maybe seek out another Dip (perhaps try painting now!) or even better, do what Godin says, come out with something everyone would want to see, be your own genius, be exceptional!
He explains reactive quitting as a response to fear or insecurity claiming that reactive quitting is something that people often do when they feel that the task on hand is too difficult or when they fear failure. “It’s human nature to quit when it hurts. But it’s that reflex that creates scarcity.” He writes. Often it happens that we set out goals for ourselves that we never reach, especially in quarantine we have had many such things that we’ve planned on doing but never seeing it to an end. Let’s say thanks to a spark of motivation you wanted to master French over the course of quarantine but what are the chances you actually do it? Not much right? Be it because the task of mastering another language by yourself seems too difficult or because the fear of failing is very prevalent you decide to quit, and that is what responsive quitting is.
Strategic quitting on the other hand Godin implies to be the secret to success. He writes that “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.” The book explains that wanting to quit is a natural response, but choosing to quit is what matters, saying that when the thought of quitting does cross your mind, you must question yourself this “Is the pain of the Dip worth the benefit of the light at the end of the tunnel?”
Essentially The Dip ingeniously brings together the idea of success and breaking free from the general misconception of quitting, and reaches out to people who often feel let down because of such ideas.