By David Skidmore
August 9, 2022

The best time to quit a pursuit

Seth Godin's book The Dip teaches you to think about the end result before you bail out on—or invest in—an idea.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

By Seth Godin

A lot of content is built around inspiring you to start something. The challenge is that we often don’t know when to quit. The best time to quit something destined to be unsuccessful is before you begin. This little book is all about determining what to launch and what to stop.

Seth Godin identifies three variations of what you will face in decisions.

First, the dip. Second, the cul-de-sac. Third, the cliff.

Don’t take the cliff. Remember that famous quote by Lauren Schwaiger now set in lovely quotations and posted on Instagram feeds? “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

It sounds nice, but you won’t fly off a cliff. You will crash and burn. Buzz Lightyear thought he was going “to infinity and beyond.” Woody knew Buzz was “falling with style.” When it comes to a cliff, it’s not flight. It’s a fall. Don’t take the cliff.

The cul-de-sac can be enticing because it doesn’t have such a harsh ending. Yet, a cul-de-sac forces many people to get stuck in the infinite loop. Avoid getting caught in the cul-de-sac by seeing the long-term future of an idea.

Finally, there is the dip. Understanding the dip is so crucial that Godin wrote an entire book about the dip. After all, everyone faces the dip. It is the place where perseverance is needed.

Most ideas begin with a lot of energy and focus. The energy propels someone uphill, and then they enter the dip. The question is, “Do you have what you need to sustain the dip?”

Do you care enough about what you are doing that you are willing to walk through the dip to the other side? The dip is unavoidable. No one escapes the dip.

So ask yourself this question. Is it worth it?

If it isn’t, then Godin says to quit before you start.

It’s okay to quit. In fact, you should quit often. The goal is to leave things you don’t want to push through the dip. Most things in life don’t deserve all of your energy. A few things will.

When you find an idea you’ll march through hell to see become a reality, you know you have something worth pursuing.

The dip is something we all face. Quit early. Quit often. Then you can save your energy for the dip that truly matters.

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About David Skidmore

David Skidmore is a speaker, leadership trainer, and executive coach. He is the founder and CEO of LeaderGrowth, a leadership company designed to help individuals and organizations overcome challenges and experience transformation. David is the author of Unstuck: Turn Potential into Purpose which is available on Amazon, and his podcast LeaderGrowth with David Skidmore is available wherever you listen to podcasts. He is the co-organizer of TEDxOklahomaCity and has coached 17 speakers resulting
in over 150k views. David enjoys the Oklahoma City Thunder, summers at the lake, and exploring new cities.