The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit by Seth Godin

Category: Decision-Making

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Why: I am always questioning my quitting decision.
Goal: Learn to make quitting a better strategy, not a worse excuse.

Action: Outline Circumstances Where You Must Quit.

3 Key Concepts

  1. Pick your own perfect world to be the best in.
  2. Anticipate the depth of The Dip.
  3. Decide in advance when to quit.


The shortest business book I have yet to read. 80 pages of perspectives on quitting whatever you are doing. I find a few insights reassuring as I am making a career switch. If you are also in the same dip, give me a minute to tell you this story of The Dip.

The Dip is where you felt stuck during your journey. Mile 20 during your first marathon. The moment when you are deciding or doubting if you would rather quit.

Your attitude toward The Dip is crucial as it affects your emotion and motivation. Seth mentioned that any goal worth pursuing has The Dip as part of the journey.

The Dip is your best friend. It protects other competitors from entering your market. It acts as a test of worthiness. The deeper, the more valuable to get to the other side. You get the idea. It is like going to medical school, law school, or engineering school.

Why? It fails people, and that, in turn, creates scarcity. Scarcity means lower supply than demand; hence, Valuable.

Become the best in that world

By aiming to cross the biggest dip. What world is right for you, more specifically for your time, money, and effort. You pick the world too big, then you won’t make it; too small, then you undermine your own potential.

He said that you must become the best in today’s world. As the available options are clicks away for your customers. They will not ask for 2nd best and for sure not mediocrity. We ask Google for the best clinic, best restaurant, best school, best shopping mall, etc. Average is for losers.

Anticipate the depth

Seth suggested that knowing the depth is a tool to evaluate whether it makes sense to even try or avoid quitting in The Dip. The difficult aspect of The Dip is that it changes as you journey through it. It might get deeper.

He advised us to know who we are trying to influence for this problem.

If it is an individual, the goal is to understand their worldview. So keep pushing if it matches, or quit as soon as possible when you find out it does not.

If it is a market, you should commit to it as long as it takes. Of course, given that you are certain, you had picked the right market (world) for yourself. Journey across the market is more like going up a hill; each step gets amplified. You gain momentum when you are getting closer to the top.

It is crucial to understand this method of picking the right dip, the right world for you. Otherwise, you are going into it blind. Good luck motivating yourself to stick to the end of it. Ignore this, and you might become a bad quitter.

The antidote to quitting paradon

Deciding in advance when to quit. Write down as specific as possible under what circumstances you are willing to quit. Make that your principle. Here are signs that quitting might be a smart choice.

  • Quit when you are on a dead-end path, like unaligned jobs.
  • Quit when you are facing a cliff, like smoking.
  • Quit when you realized The Dip doesn’t worth your time, money, and effort.

You cannot become the best if you do not focus all your resources on one dip.

A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.

Seth Godin.

Hopefully, this summary gives you a guideline of how and when to quit. Insights gave me a reassuring sense of quitting strategy. I’m definitely going to be quitting more often and at the right time.

sky ditch eye hole
Decide. Climb. Finish. or Not.

Goal check: I learned what it means to quit and not become a loser.

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