I borrowed The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) from the library, hoping to read it casually within a day. But I ended up reading it twice over the day and taking copious notes. I came away inspired to continue my goals. Here is what I learnt from The Dip:
Getting through the dip gives you success
The thing is to know if you are in a dip or in a cul-de-sac (where no amount of effort will give you a result, or a cliff, where the more effort you put, it only becomes worse). Ability to push through moments when others tend to quit gives you the edge. To help you get through the dip, decide before you start working on your goal, when you would quit. Quitting at the height of great pain, is an emotional (short-term) decision rather than a strategic (long-term) decision.
Create a dip big enough, so you always stay ahead of competition
Apple’s iTunes is an example of a successful product which has created a big Dip that is very hard for competitors to pass through. Quit other business if they are not helping you in the main goal.
- The opposite of quitting is rededication. Give yourself fully to another goal.
- Mostly, when people quit, they are focused on the short-term benefits (“less of” or “more of” something).
Questions to ask when quitting
Am I Panicking? - Am I quitting under great pain or quitting as a strategy?
Who am I trying to influence? - Am I trying to change the perception of 1 person or targeting a marketplace?
What sort of measurable progress am I making? - Check if I am in a dip or a cul-de-sac or a cliff.
I strongly recommend reading The Dip. I realised I quit my goal of losing 5 Kg simply because the pain was great (going daily to the gym) and not because I decided it as a strategy. My new goal is to go to gym alternate days and use the rest days to diet healthily to lose weight.
In some areas like in freelancing, I had decided on a quitting goal (didn’t know about The Dip at that time) before I even started on my work and kept savings for the worst-case scenario. It helped me get through the dip (some days when I was working throughout the weekdays/weekends/midnights) and get well paying clients who recognised my worth.
Coming up shortly, is my list of goals for 2009.