The Dip; How to Embrace Failure and Come Out on Top

The Dip; How to Embrace Failure and Come Out on Top

Book Recommendation #3: The Dip by Seth Godin

In our last book review, we talked about failure— how to escape its magnetic pull. This week we’ll have a look at Seth Godin’s, The Dip and talk about a different approach to failure: accepting it.

The Dip by Seth Godin

Godin argues that sometimes, when the going gets tough, your best course of action is to stop pushing forward. Yes, the book also talks about how you can push through challenges (when necessary) in order to achieve. But I think the biggest takeaway is the idea that overcoming obstacles requires so much effort you should limit it to a select few pursuits.

Focus your energy like this, and you can double down on the areas that mean most to you. Meaning you can achieve mastery in a select few disciplines instead of rising to mediocrity in everything.

Let’s look at this further.

Narrowing Your Focus a.k.a. “Giving Up”

Giving up has a definite stigma in our culture. We’re vehemently opposed to quitting. But if you think about it rationally, does it really make sense to keep going no matter what? Isn’t it sometimes better to give up on a distracting project so you can focus on what really drives you? Godin thinks so, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Here’s why:

  • Anything worth doing, is worth doing better than any living person on the planet. This is really the central theme of the book. If you want to pursue something, why pursue with sub-par goals? Shoot for the moon and hit it, forget about landing among the stars. Of course, the only way to do this is by focusing on your goals and refusing to be distracted by side-interests.
  • You may not actually be able to the best in the world. This takes highly-tuned self-awareness, something we’ve talked about on the blog before. But Godin argues that if you want to achieve great things, you need to look at yourself and realistically decide whether you have what it takes to be the greatest at it. If you don’t, quit. Quit now and spend your time in an area you can dominate.
  • The world has too much mediocrity already. If you aren’t prepared to give something your all, you’ll just add to it. That’s why, Godin emphasizes the need to plan ahead. Ask yourself very seriously, “am I driven enough to devote everything to this goal?” If not, you’re destined for mediocrity. Quit.

Now of course, the above is only one half of the book. The next half tells you how to march on when you know you’re on the right path. For those of you who are certain about their purpose, that’s going to be the most enlightening.

But for those of you with too many projects on the go, too many irons in the fire, perhaps cutting down is the best way to reach your goals.

What do you think? Are you guilty of pursuing too many projects at a time? Or are you crystal clear in your focus, devoting the majority of your actions towards a single purpose? Let me know in the comments below.


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I’m a serial entrepreneur and I write about things I have learned along the way. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and executives to find success and harmony in business and in life.

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