In the quest to become really good at something, according to Seth Godin’s book The Dip, you need to get past the dip. No, not the thing you dunk potato chips into. Hmm. Dip… The dip that Godin is talking about is that space between being okay at something and becoming a master of something.
When you discover or develop an ability like writing or playing an instrument, there is an initial period of excitement where it’s fun and you are learning new things and that causes a snowball effect making you come back and learn more or develop more. However, the honeymoon eventually ends and you get to “the dip”.
The dip is the space where you are not learning so many new things, but need to develop and practice what you already know. It’s the time where you develop and enhance your skills through practice and perseverance. It’s the lull between being a novice and becoming a master. It can take months or it can take years. If you want to become excellent at something, you need to get through “the dip.”
The dip is where most people quit.
Quitting isn’t bad, as long as you quit the right things. If you have a major goal, you will need to quit things that distract you from that goal. You will need to quit things that take up valuable time, but don’t give any returns towards your goals. I can hear my wife saying, “You mean, like watching TV?” Sigh. Yes, like watching TV.
Only you will know what things you should quit. But first, you need to decide what the goal is. What is the thing you won’t quit until you achieve it? Once you know what that is, then you can start looking at the things that you can quit because they are distracting you from your main goal. Stephen Covey said, “It’s easy to say ‘no’ when you have a bigger ‘yes’ inside.” If you have something very important to you, like a goal you are committed to achieving, it is easy to quit or say no to other things.
It’s not easy to get past the dip. If it was easy, everyone would be a master. You need to put in the time to become great at what you want to become great at. I want to become a great playwright, so in my way of going through the dip, I’m working towards writing a page a day (WAPAD).
I’m at Day 13 of taking baby steps towards that goal. I just completed my sixth day of writing half a page a day. After tomorrow, I will work on ¾’s of a page a day. Once my habit is developed of writing a page a day, I will have to keep up the habit. I will actually have to increase the habit to more than one page a day, but that will be another habit to develop and I will take baby steps for that, too.
What is your goal? What is that you want to reach for that will push you through your own “dip”?