The Dip by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and popular author on topics ranging from marketing to today’s tech industry. I’ve been following Seth’s blog for a few months now, and much of his insight and ideas have guided me through some tough times.
The Dip is my first book of his I’ve read. In a nutshell, the book discusses something Seth coined as “The Dip”; the initial setback that any project or endeavor comes across. The dip is where you get stuck. Either you are in the dip too long or never see the dip coming. Getting stuck in a dip can be found in missed project deadlines, falling off the bandwagon on your diet, to chronic career changes, to dead end jobs. Seth’s point is to learn to recognize the dip at every point of the journey, in your quest at succeeding.
Yes, it can be a bunch of mumbo jumbo, and we all know this. Sometimes we just need to be reminded. For me, the important thing I took away from reading this tiny book is the quote below.
Just about everything you learned in school about life is wrong, but the wrongest thing might be well be this: Being well rounded is the secret to success.
When you came home from school with two As, a B+, and three Bs, you were doing just fine. Imagine the poor kid who had an A+ and four Cs. Boy, was he in trouble.
Fast-forward a few decades from those school days, and think about the decisions you make today-about which doctor to pick, which restaurant to visit, or which accountant to hire. How often do you look for someone who is actually quite good at the things you don’t need her to do? How often do you hope that your accountant is a safe driver and a decent golfer?
In a free market, we reward the exceptional.
From reading this, I’ve finally come to an understanding that I’m not superman anymore and to be the successful person I want, I need to learn to let things go. In my undergraduate years as a music student, I played oboe, played guitar, played piano, sung in choir, participated in my school’s computer music program. I also took all the required music theory classes plus a gigantic load of math classes as my electives. (I didn’t like the electives my school offered.) Doing all this, I was a well rounded musician and student, but I was hardly a master at any of these skills. In my graduate computer science school years, at height of my busiest, I was working 3 part time jobs on top of my computer classes. Plus whatever side things I was working on. My then-girlfriend (now my wife), can tell you stories of how I would come home and literally crash and fall asleep on the couch or the floor.
So now I understand that I need to concentrate on the important projects in my life-be that career, music, or family.