I am currently reading The Dip by Seth Godin. I have had this book on my shelf for years. I started reading it and then quit about halfway through. It is a short book and as I was sorting my book collection today to get more strategic with my reading habits. I was trying to decide… is this a marketing book, a strategy book, a leadership book, a mindset book, or something else.

In this decision process, I said what the hell, maybe I should just complete the book finally since it is so small. So that brought me to here where I am reading it and writing my thoughts on the book. Early on Seth makes the argument for QUITTING. His argument is this… if you want to be best in the world at something than you need to quit a lot of other things to focus on that 1 area.

 

He shares the concept of the top-10 ice cream flavors. They are…

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Butter Pecan
  4. Strawberry
  5. Neapolitan
  6. Chocolate Chip
  7. French Vanilla
  8. Cookies ‘n’ Cream
  9. Fudge Ripple
  10. Praline

So upon a quick glance of these, I see some of my favorites. I’m a Vanilla guy. I like Butter Pecan, Strawberry, French Vanilla, and Praline, but as much as I like some of these more fancy flavors if someone on the street asked me I would say Vanilla. Here is a bar chart of how the flavors rank. Notice who’s ranked best and by how much.

 

Do quitters always win? how zipf's law proves this related to the top 10 ice cream flavors - image created by BRANDWISE for the business success movement

 

Now Seth shares a concept called Zipf’s Law which states… well maybe it is best to dig into the math, Zipf’s Law and the Pareto Principle by watching this 21 minute (interesting, trust me on this) video.

 

Now we can see being best in the world will certainly pay off in big ways, right? Of course, but here’s the rub… What is The Best In The World? Seth mentions…

 

Best is subjective. I (the customer) get to decide, not you. World is selfish. It’s my definition, not yours. It’s the world I define, based on my convenience or my preferences. Be the best in my world and you have me, at a premium, right now.”

 

Every day the world is becoming smaller and smaller, but the competition is getting larger and larger. We are now competing on a global scale, so how do we become best in the world? Beyond this, as Seth mentioned, how do we do it when this concept is subjective and even fleeting to the moment you are speaking with a consumer? Yes, all of this makes being best in the world a challenge, but Seth also goes on to talk about how this challenge is your blessing. Think of how much more money Vanilla makes compared to all the other flavors. It is through the roof, right? Well, of course, it is and your expertise can be through the roof as well if you focus on the right area and lean into the “dip” as Seth calls it.

 

Seven Reasons You Might Fail to Become the Best In The World

  1. You run out of time (and quit).
  2. You run out of money (and quit).
  3. You get scared (and quit).
  4. You are not serious about it (and quit).
  5. You lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre (and quit).
  6. You focus on the short term instead of the long-term (and quit when the short term gets too hard).
  7. You pick the wrong thing at which to be best in the world (because you don’t have the talent).

 

Over the years, I have seen a lot of business owners try things out and quit. Hell, I have done my share of this as well so I can tell you these 7 reasons are pretty solid. The interesting thing about this stuff though, is these are the 7 reasons when quitting is viewed as a failure. In the book, Seth also mentions…

 

You grew up believing quiting was a moral failure.

 

The key point to the book and this article are that quitting is only a failure when you quit the wrong things. If you quit what everyone else is doing because it is too hard to be #1 then quitting is not a bad thing. So how can you change your mindset and your beliefs to look at quitting as getting you one step closer to REAL success?

Think about innovators in the world. Let’s look at Steve Jobs for example. Apple had its own line of “failures” like the Apple Newton in the 1990’s. The Newton was a PDA (personal digital assistants), boy I haven’t thought about or used the word PDA in ages because the concept evolved and changed. Although Newton failed in the marketplace, it was the foundation for things to come… the iPhone which revolutionized the marketplace and changed our worlds.

Apple also created new markets or at least became the #1 leader in some new spaces – the iPhone is a top dog in the smartphone market, but iTunes and the iPod totally flipped the music industry on its ear. Sadly the music industry was dying or at least it plateaued a bit as the 2000’s lifestyles were changing. The iPod allowed music consumers to do a few things different. They could now buy a single song instead of a whole album and it also allows music collectors the portability to bring thousands of songs and albums with them and keep it in their pocket. If you’ve ever packed for a road trip and brought 20 to 50 CDs with you, you know what a hassle this was and how much space this took up.

Let’s get back to the book. The reason I love this book is that it sort of tells you to do the complete opposite of what most people think and this goes against the grain and bucks the system and well… kills status quo which is part of my mission. Seth offers a good suggestion midway through the book…

 

The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, relize that you have only two good choices: QUIT or BE EXCEPTIONAL. Average is for Losers.

If you’re not going to be #1, You might as well Quit Now.

 

I think this is great advice. If you are always asking yourself… “in what I am doing today, can I be best in the world at?” If the answer is “NO!” then why bother being mediocre? Just QUIT! Because quitting is associated with failing, few people become experts at quitting. Many will say… “NEVER QUIT!”. That may be some good advice as long as you are not on a dead-end path, but Seth shares better advice…

 

Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.

 

So long-story-short was this book worth reading?

In my opinion yes, or at least at this time for me it was. I have been in business for nearly 20 years. I have made many of the mistakes mentioned in this book. It is also a great book if you are creating something new or if you are in a place where you feel stuck. It is a short book, but it covers a very deep concept about how to QUIT STRATEGICALLY. With that… would you just quit reading and get out there and become best in the world at something? You owe it to us to knock our socks off. Every one of you reading this has the potential to put a ding in the universe and overdeliver in your own special area, just don’t waste time with the wrong stuff.

One last thing… if you learned something or found value somewhere in this article can I ask you a favor? Will you share your thoughts in the comments below? Tell me what was the strongest point for you? Share why you love this idea of quitting, or why you hate it. Then, feel free to subscribe to the blog and share this article with your friends. Or just rate it with the stars below. The more we understand what you love, the more we can cater our content to you.

Here’s to much success! Thanks for joining the movement!

Get out there and start quitting things like crazy!