Seth Godin's 'Dip'

Seth Godin's little book, The Dip, is all about achievement. He discusses it at his blog The Dip by Seth Godin. I read the occasional business book, not because I am an entrepreneur, but because I love to see how successful people think. This little book, full of common sense, is designed for those willing to reach the 'tops of their fields.' With the Olympic closing ceremonies today, it's time to think about achievement.

Who, given the choice, would go to the second best brain surgeon? We want the best so the best get all the attention and business. You have to be the first, offer something unique and be the best or resign yourself to only a small fraction of the market.

The dip is a metaphor describing the long, discouraging slog between a beginner's early learning curve and mastery. Most people quit in 'the dip' before they become the best.

One of the things I like about this book is that it encourages you to quit. I have heard too many superstars encourage young people to never give up, to hold on to their dream, to make every sacrifice. I wish they would add that talent and a willingness to relocate are necessary. Kids should not be told they will be superstars if they are tenacious, despite mediocre talents and an unwillingness to make their own luck. On the other hand, sometimes mediocrity is good enough.

I am an amateur writer and director of kids' musicals. I will never make a living at it. I wouldn't dream of taking something so rewarding and turn it into a job. Instead, I do it at school. The kids love to be stars in their own show. Years later some even come back to reminisce. This is a much richer reward than money, but it will never get me past Godin's 'dip.'

Most people are much happier not being super-successful, rich and famous and most days, I'm one of them.

Now, if you told me I could be a well-known, self-supporting fiction author, that I had the talent, that all I had to do was quit my job and devote myself to writing full-time... I'd certainly think about it. That's one reason why I read books like Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan and Godin's The Dip. I still have this crazy dream. One day I'll write a great novel manuscript and the right editor will pull it out of the slush pile. Stranger things have happened.

For example, I just read Stephanie Meyer's #1 New York Times best-selling debut novel, twilight. What a success story.

Until then, happy writing.

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