Quitters are generally looked down,but even a little introspection would remind you the many things you have tried but didn’t get far. I can blame myself for not trying to be the next Sachin Tendulkar when I had that ambition after watching him score back to back centuries in Sharjah. But its good that I quit that intention as early as possible,for I know that my abilities will never take that far. That’s an illustration of how quitting helps people. Successful people often quit early says Seth Godin in his book “The Dip”.
It’s a fast read guiding you on making your own secret recipe of quitting. The theme of the book is well reflected in the below excerpt.
A wood-pecker can tap twenty times a thousand trees and get nowhere,but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty thousand times on a tree and get dinner
But tapping on a wrong tree is also not going to help. All of us have ambitions and most of us pursue it,but only few make it to the end. Even internally you can have plenty of wishes,but only few make it to the end. Seth says that the ability to find whether the tree is worth tapping is what separates them.
The first of the two graphs symbolizes the dip , a period where frustrations galore since there are no results with increased efforts. But the people who ride through it make it to the peak where they are rewarded exponentially. These are the best in their chosen profession. They command premiums which are hundred times than the average,but to reach there,you will have to face the dip.
Not every dip ends rewarding,certain roads lead to dead ends and one has to have the ability to sense that early and quit as early as possible. The second graph depicts those trajectories which are doomed to fail. But Seth doesnt risk himself giving a recipe to identify which is what.
But he gives out recommendations on when to quit. He advises to devise quitting strategies,even before you start and not when the going gets. For business like venture capitalists quitting is where they earn,so plan for your exits. Our resources are minimal or atleast finite,hence we should be investing them in the best possible way. Abandon those activities which don’t have prospects and channel them towards something worthy.
With all these preaching, Seth never gives us a magic formula to differentiate between the dip and cul-de-sac.If there was one,winners wont be scarce. And its scarcity which makes them more valuable. But if you need a guide ,its summed up in these final words.
Quit the wrong stuff,
Stick with the right stuff,
Have guts to do one or the other.
At 90 pages it’s a short read,capable of influencing your mental muscles.