Monday, October 6, 2008

The Dip

Almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by the Dip.
At the beginning, when you first start something, it's fun. You could be taking up golf or acupuncture or piloting a plane or doing chemistry - doesn't matter; it's interesting, and you get plenty of good feedback from the people around you.
Over the next few days and weeks, the rapid learning you experience keeps you going. Whatever your new thing is, it's easy to stay engaged in it.
And then the Dip happens.
The Dip is a long slog between starting and mastery. A long slog that's actually a shortcut, because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other path.
The Dip is the combination of bureaucracy and busywork you must deal with in order to get certified in scuba diving.
The Dip is the difference between the easy "beginner" technique and the more useful "expert" approach in skiing or fashion design.
The Dip is the long stretch between beginner's luck and real accomplishment...

..Of course, if you look at the resume of a typical CEO, you'll see that he endured a twenty-five year Dip before landing the job.
...It's easy to be a CEO. What's hard is getting there. There's a huge Dip along the way. If it was easy, there'd be too many people vying for the job and the CEOs couldn't get paid as much, could they? Scarcity, as we've seen, is the secret to value. If there wasn't a Dip, there'd be no scarcity.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Successful people don't just ride out the Dip. They don't just buckle down and survive it. No, they lean into the Dip. They push harder, changing the rules as they go. Just because you know you're in the Dip doesn't mean you have to live happily with it. Dips don't last quite as long when you whittle at them.

...When the pain gets so bad that you're ready to quit, you've set yourself up as someone with nothing to lose. And someone with nothing to lose has quite a bit of power. You can go for broke. Challenge authority. Attempt unattempted alternatives. Lean into a problem; lean so far that you might just lean right through it.

- Seth Godin ("The Dip")

This book bears an almost uncanny resemblance to the book Mastery, by George Leonard. The basic message is that "the Dip", like George Leonard's "plateau", is something to expected and even embraced. The Dip is the ravine or moat that separates the best from the rest, and bridging it is essential to success. "The Dip", by Seth Godin, is very short, easy, and fun read - I highly recommend checking it out if you have any interest.


Paul Britt said...

Went to the RKC, found the book and changed careers. It makes you realize that there is more out there.

Boris said...

Definately a good book and the RKC can be an amazing experience. That's inspiring Paul - I look forward to reading your blog.