Do you know when to quit?

Posted: August 31, 2011 in Leadership, Leadership Resources, Uncategorized

Seth Godin’s New York Times best-selling book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When to Stick), explores the topic of quitting.

For most of my life I have been taught over and over again through many different venues that quitting is a bad thing. Seth explores the question of whether or not quitting is actually a bad thing all the time.

This topic has been explored before in other great books. Jim Collins tells us that all of us should have a ‘stop doing list’ in his best-selling book, Good to Great. Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings, discusses this topic in great detail as well.

Seth’s approach is to challenge us to think of life in terms of whether or not we are in a ‘Dip” or in a  ‘Cul-de-Sac’. The main thesis of this book is that Seth suggest the truly successful people and organizations are the ones who know when to quit, what to quit and are not afraid to quit at such times.

“Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations” 

Take aways:

2 Situations that lead people to quit:

  1. The Dip: this is the long, difficult period that lies between the beginning of something new and eventually finally mastering it. This period of time is when that initial excitement you had about taking on something new wears off before you have accomplished the success you dreamed of at the outset. Many times this period of time is extremely challenging and many times it seems quite reasonable to quit, but this is the time when you should actually stick it out, persevere and bust through the walls in order to reach your destination.  Seth states that, ‘almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by the Dip.’
  2. Cul-de-Sac: Seth uses the picture of being stuck in a Cul-de-Sac to illustrate that period of time when we have committed ourselves to a path only to discover that the situation has stagnated to the point that there is no real potential for growth and success. Cul-de-Sacs never get better no matter how hard you work. Seth suggest that success lies in recognizing when you are stuck in a Cul-de-Sac and then having the courage and resolve to call it quits. He teaches us that Cul-de-Sacs drain our energy and resources away from attacking a worthwhile Dip that can lead us to our desired result of a successful outcome.
So are you in a ‘Dip’ or a ‘Cul-de-Sac’?
Do you have the courage to quit the right things?
If you are struggling with such decisions Seth’s book good be a good resource for you to digest in the days ahead.

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Comments
  1. I love this little book. I think most of us quit when the going gets tough… in business and in life. It reminded me a bit of Jim Collin’s flywheel… you need to push through the dips to get to the good stuff. Thanks for reminding me about it… I’m in a dip on something right now and it’s a good prompt to keep pushing.

  2. Mark Riggins says:

    Hey Mark I recently “quit” by closing our church. You can read about here: http://tinyurl.com/3rmr2fb. I really struggled trying to decide if I was in a long dip or a Cul-de-Sac. After making our decision someone encouraged me to read Cloud’s “Necessary Endings” which was extremely helpful. We now see many new doors opening that are only there because we made the courageous decision to strategically “quit”.

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