Summary: The Dip by Seth Godin

The book attempts at answering a single question: WHEN TO QUIT?

Something might not be worth doing and will yield no result because lack of resources, or passion, or commitment, or talent. Its a Cul-de-sac. Quit.

Something might be worth pushing through its lowest point (the Dip). Don’t quit.

These something‘s are different for each individual.

It’s exponentially better to be the best in the world. The #1 often gets paid 10 times as much as #10, and 100 times as much as #100. Why? We always look for the best in a respective world to do a task at that moment. Nobody looks for an average.

The best in a respective world can be an object/service/person that is the cheapest, closest, strongest, fastest, smartest, most beautiful, or any combination of many traits. The world has different needs. Choose a niche.

The Dip is what makes something worth pursuing because almost all people drop out along the way. People who make it to the other side are scarce.

If you’re not going to get to #1, quit now.

Thien’s opinion: Inspiring!

Realizing which path is a Cul-de-sac and which path is a Dip is essential! Seth claims we can think about this from before starting a journey.

Thien’s opinion: Seth went on a bit too long about this for my taste. I wondered at some point whether the book is ironically intended to be a Cul-de-sac that invites readers to exercise the concept of quitting immediately. Anyhow, I think it’s hard to know for sure which is which. The more knowledgeable a person, the better they can deceive themselves, too. Maybe a film career is a Cul-de-sac but a person keeps on telling herself that it is a Dip to push through because her pride is on the line. Maybe another person quits a music project after a hard critique or after being too harsh on himself, justifying the decision as saving his time and effort for other projects. We can’t know which is which before, or even during the journey.

Define when to quit before starting. This way, we won’t quit when we panic or when it gets emotionally hard along the way. When we panic, delay the quitting decision.

Thien’s opinion: I find it helpful to delay the decision by a set period of time, depending on how big a task is. For example, I thought of quitting writing my blog when I feel lazy, but will reexamine the decision at the end of July as decided from the beginning. By that point, I might have discovered something new or is no longer have a strong emotional response. A darker example: it is helpful to push off the decision on ending one’s life by a year from when the thought occurs to avoid the stir of emotion. Oftentimes, the decision gets reversed; but if it stays the same, it’s also fine.

That’s the end of my summary. Now quit wasting time and go be #1.

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