What’s it about?
Seth Godin maps out why the things in life that are worth it eventually reach this region called “The Dip”. It’s when your effort is increasing, but your results are decreasing. Unfortunately, we can’t see ourselves going through this dip so it feels more like what he calls “The Cliff”. He makes an argument for why you should strive to be #1 in your endeavors, specifically focusing on fewer endeavors so you don’t distract yourself or divide your resources.
He goes into what are known as “Cul-de-sacs” as well, that just go around and around, with nothing getting better or worse. This is an avenue we take all-too-often, and don’t realize we’re on this journey to nowhere until we’re well into it. Godin lays out his framework on how to stop choosing cul-de-sacs and cliffs and start really pushing towards what’s worth it. Further, how to push through the dip to see epic results.
This book isn’t a thorough how-to guide; in fact, not only is it only 80 pages, it’s about half the physical dimensions of a regular-sized book. It does, however, provide perspective. It’s in the questions you ask yourself that you find the key to whether you’re in the dip and should keep going, or just running yourself ragged with work.
Why should anyone read it?
As I said in the description, this book isn’t a play-by-play guide that you follow. It’s more of a theoretical concept than an action plan. The book is worth its weight if you take it seriously enough to really analyze your life. Personally, I used to try to do about seven things every morning. Ready for this list? Practice French, practice Spanish, practice American Sign Language, speed-reading training, listen to a podcast, exercise, and train my dog. None of those things included daily routines (e.g. eat breakfast, brush teeth, shower). They were all purposeful actions to hit a goal and I was stressing myself out trying to get them all. I also wasn’t getting very far. When I backed off (i.e. dropped completely) some of the goals, I started noticing results in the other ones. That was seven goals down to two – it made an impact.
Now I’m guessing most people don’t attempt as many ridiculous things in the span of a morning, but I’m betting their life has as many goals across a week. The Dip plays a role in how you hit those goals and whether you’re going to hit those goals. Just because you are in the dip and the goal is worth it, doesn’t mean you have the resources to get out of the dip. Remember, it’s actually pretty easy to put in enough effort to fall in the dip. Look at that book cover; it’s a short roll down a hill to get in, but a mountain hike to get out the other side. That’s what it will feel like when you’re focusing just on that one goal.
Seth Godin does a good job getting in his own head about why he does things, as well as telling stories about others who got stuck in the dip or made it out successfully. The way he writes it (short and simple) helps you really analyze what it is you are doing with your time and resources. And because this book is so short, I would seriously recommend reading it once a month for six months to keep checking in on yourself.
“Anyone who is going to hire you, buy from you, recommend you, vote for you, or do what you want them to do is going to wonder if you’re the beset choice.”
“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.”
“Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it.”
“The first ten pounds of pressure you put into a completely flat tire do no good at all. And adding ten extra pounds to a full tire will burst the tire, defeating the entire purpose of your effort. No, it’s just hte last ten pounds, the ones that get it to full that really pay off.”
“If you’ve got as much as you’ve got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else.”
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