I did a gig in New York today about the Dip and it went really well. Afterward, someone asked me a question about his new business.
I asked back, "if you accomplish that, will you be seen by your audience as the best in the world, or will you be seen as doing your best?"
He didn't have to answer. He got it.
If you're doing your best, only your AYSO soccer coach cares. If you're the best in the world, the market cares. The secret, if you have limited resources (don't we all) is to make 'world' small enough that you can actually accomplish that.
Here's what Richard Pachter wrote about the Dip today: The one possible weakness of this otherwise terrific little volume is that it is aimed solely at people who are creative, intelligent and want to succeed. Those who are mediocre, unmotivated or just coasting through life will probably not get much from Godin. He is not an elitist, but his message is squarely aimed at those who want to succeed or at least achieve excellence.
Joyrides are things you do just for the fun of it, without caring if you’re getting anywhere. Seth himself said (roughly) that “if you play the flute just because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to make a living as a flautist, then The Dip doesn’t matter.” It is worth noting that for some people college is Joyride, not a Dip!
Lotteries are a particularly seductive variant of Dead End that looks like a Dip, in that we periodically see people who do make it out into the Good Life. Unlike a Dip, though, there is nothing we can do to ensure we make it through to the other side; we are at the mercy of external forces. Thus, even thought there is a non-zero chance we might win the Lottery, for most of us it really is a Dead End, and a complete waste of our potential for greatness. This is particularly true for Talent- (rather than Skill-) based disciplines, where the Lottery took place before we were born.
Quests, on the other hand, are Dips that look like Dead Ends. Seth encourages us to pursue Dips where we can make measurable progress towards a well-defined goal. However, he admits that this doesn’t apply to things like cutting-edge scientific research, where there there are no guarantees or guidelines; fortunately, he says people like that won’t be discouraged by anything he says in his book. :-)
However, I think he overstates the case when he says Quests (like Crick & Watson’s search for DNA) don’t have measurable progress. They do, but it is a matter of personal growth and accumulated wisdom, not the usual business metrics. Even though we may not reach what we thought we were aiming for, a worthy Quest enobles us and ends up benefiting humanity.
Brad sent me a note about a guy who's running a campaign to make himself come up on the front page of Google when people type in his name. (Try 'seth'. If you've got a weird name, it's sort of cool.)
This is hard work if your name is something like Bill Wilson or John Woo. And the question is: why bother?
Sure, climbing a mountain just because it's hard is a great hobby. But too often we get caught up in the tactics of getting through the Dip just because we can. Difficulty is not the only thing that makes a Dip worth pursuing. The end result matters too. Seeing the destination and valuing the outcome can make a huge difference in having the ability to push through.