Successful Quitting: Tips from Seth Godin’s ‘The Dip’

Most of us understand the value of forging ahead with our plans to overcome challenges, setting higher goals to climb the ladder of success, and moving on with words of encouragement that demand ‘quitting is not an option.’ But it’s interesting to learn that there are some instances where quitting can actually work in your favor.

Seth Godin covers this topic in detail in the book, The Big Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) , offering insights and suggestions on making the best of your experiences by quitting at just the right time.

The book identifies ways to become smart at quitting; knowing when to put the brakes on an idea or moving ahead with a deal, and evaluating signs, signals, and situations with better judgment. Here are some other useful suggestions gleaned from The Dip:

  1. Don’t settle for being a copy just to play it safe. If you’re not going to be the leader of your market or what you do, don’t bother doing it at all. This may sound like harsh advice, but successful companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google got to the top by providing something unique and not playing the ‘me-too’ game. They became market leaders, not copycats.
  2. Use quitting as an empowerment strategy. When you’ve reached your limit at an average or mediocre level, know that this is one of the best times to change. Quitting to move ahead can help you move towards mastery and avoid leaving you ‘stuck in a rut’.
  3. Learn how to ‘stick’ as much as you ‘quit.’ The art of sticking is covered in ‘The Dip’, identifying how important it is to get through the dip by sticking with what works, and casting aside what doesn’t. At this point, quitting really isn’t an option; the Dip is the long climb (or valley in this case) towards the pinnacle of your industry.
  4. Don’t be afraid to change course. Successful companies have changed their strategy and moved along as aggressively as ever; don’t be afraid to move ahead into new terrain and think you’ll lose your way. Having a solid reason for changing course is key, but once you decide to go, just go.
  5. Create your own territory. As an entrepreneur, following your dream or vision gives you the freedom to take on new challenges and explore new territory as you see fit. If an obstacle or challenge presents itself, learn how to develop your own skills and strengths to overcome it, pursue it, or simply create a new market of your own.

When you refuse to settle for mediocrity, you can strategically plan a quitting schedule so you’ll know what you will settle for. This way, you’ll also know what you’re up against during every step of your success.

Browse through this powerful book and see what resonates with you; feel free to share your insight and comments below!

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5 Responses to Successful Quitting: Tips from Seth Godin’s ‘The Dip’

  1. lawrence September 23, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    seth godin makes his money from books; not from whatever company he has formed.

    that’s easy to say, at least in retrospect, when or if, the ideal time is to bail on a failing venture. but how many people or companies, has he actually saved from the brink that he can claim?

    those who can do – do;
    those who can’t – teach…as the saying goes

  2. Brad September 23, 2007 at 1:29 pm #

    The thing to consider when you are deciding whether to pull out or not is sunk costs. According to economics, one should not consider sunk costs (expenses you cannot retrieve) when making a decision to have the best outcome. However thats not really how the human brain works.

    We always seem to use them as a reasoning to continue. It’s something I’ve been trying to alter in my life.

    …hope that wasn’t nonsense…

  3. David B. Bohl at September 23, 2007 at 3:07 pm #

    Excellent points. Thank you for sharing and reminding me.

    I especially like #5.

    You can easily substitute the words ‘a human being’ for the word entrpreneur in your description:

    “As (a HUMAN BEING)an entrepreneur, following your dream or vision gives you the freedom to take on new challenges and explore new territory as you see fit. If an obstacle or challenge presents itself, learn how to develop your own skills and strengths to overcome it, pursue it, or simply create a new market of your own.

  4. Sabah September 23, 2007 at 4:35 pm #

    Brad, if you are referring to the opportunity cost as the ‘sunk cost’, that does make sense. I think the business-minded among us tend to think in terms of what could have been when it comes to decision making, especially when we’re considering various options and alternatives. Knowing when to call it quits does involve an element of risk, maybe one that isn’t so easy to quantify.

  5. Brad September 23, 2007 at 11:34 pm #

    opportunity cost does not equal sunk cost. I know I wasn’t clear with my post, but I’m not sure I can do any better…

    Sunk costs are actually expenses put into a business or project that you cannot retrieve when you quit. For instance, I have spent a lot of money on 3 years of college…regardless of what I do I have already spent that money and can never retrieve it. According to economic principles, because I can never get it back, it should not factor into my decision. You should only consider the future. But that is hard to do.

    …was that any better?

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