On a normal day, I wouldn’t have thought of reviewing this book because I can be super lazy sometimes and also because I sometimes forget I read it (until a situation reminds me of it).
I was chatting with a friend yesterday and he was thinking of starting up a business. As much as this is a really good idea, I decided to probe him rather than support him right away. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll support him whatever he chooses to do but I needed him to be sure if this business venture is something he’s gonna stick with or quit when the going gets tough.
Therefore I asked a lot of questions. What I didn’t do however was explain to him why I was doing so. And I’m sure he didn’t get why this girl was disturbing him with plenty of questions. But he did answer my questions and we realized that this business idea was something that he might not stick with if the going gets tough.
Now that’s where this book comes in. I gained a lot of knowledge from it in terms of quitting or sticking to something and I figured I should share it with you as we probably wouldn’t get the chance to talk about it on a personal level.
I hope you learn from it like I did and I hope it helps you make wiser decisions.
So almost every day, we have moments when we feel like giving up. I also have those moments. We have heard the inspirational writing that says: “Quitters never win and winners never quit “. Well, Seth believes that’s bad advice because winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.
What he advises instead is this:
Quit the wrong stuff
Stick with the right stuff.
Have the guts to do one or the other
So, quitting can be the best thing you do and it can also be the wrong thing to do. Don’t worry, there is a way to tell the difference. You could either be quitting strategically or reactively.
There are two curves that define almost any situation facing you as you try to accomplish something.
Curve 1: The Dip
In the beginning, when you start something, it’s fun and interesting. You are engaged in it and get good feedback from people and then the dip happens. The dip is a long slog between starting and mastery. Successful people lean into the dip, push harder, change rules as they go and come out successful.
Curve 2: The Cul-de-sac
The Cul-de-sac (French for “dead end”) is quite simple and doesn’t require a chart. This is a situation where you work and work and work and nothing changes. Things don’t get better or worse. It’s just there.
That’s the two big curves. Stick with the dips that are likely to pan out and quit the cul-de-sacs to focus your resources.
A bonus curve: The cliff
It’s a situation where you can’t quit until you fall off and everything falls apart. It’s exciting (for a while), but doesn’t get you through the dip and lead to failure.
Points to note from the book
– If it’s worth doing, there’s probably a dip.
– The Cul-de-sac and the cliff are the curves that lead to failure. If you find yourself facing either of these two curves, you need to quit. Right now!
– The dip is where success happens. It is the secret to your success
– The people who invest the time and the energy and the effort to power through the dip are the ones who become the best in the world.
– The real success goes to those who obsess. A woodpecker can tab twenty times in a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stays busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.
– Quitting when you hit the dip is a bad idea. If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the dip just wastes the time you’ve invested.
– If you can’t make it through the dip, don’t start
– If you can get through the dip, if you can keep going when the system is expecting you to stop, you will achieve extraordinary results
– If you’re going to quit, quit before you start. Reject the system. Don’t play the game is you realize you can’t be the best in the world
– Quitting is not the same as failing
– Never quit something with great long term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.
Three questions to ask before quitting
- Am I panicking? Quitting when you’re panicked is dangerous and expensive
- Who am I trying to influence? One person or a market determines if you should quit or not
- What sort of measurable progress am I making? It’s either you are moving forward, falling behind or standing still
Assignment for you from the book: Write down under what circumstances you’re willing to quit. And when. And then stick with it
I’ll end with a quote from ultramarathoner Dick Collins:
Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, “well gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and it’s cold and windy.” and talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.
Last notes from the author :
If you’ve got as much as you’ve got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else. You can only do that by marshaling all of your resources to get through the biggest possible Dip. In order to get through that dip, you’ll need to quit everything else. If it’s not going to put a dent in the world, quit. Right now. Quit and use that void to find the energy to assault the Dip that matters.
Go ahead, make something happen. We’re waiting!
P.S: It’s a short book, you should definitely read it