Have you ever considered quitting?

Neither had I. But since hearing Seth Godin speak about his book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches you When to Quit (and When to Stick), last year it’s constantly been on my mind.

In The Dip, Seth suggests that all successful people know one thing before they become successful – they know when to quit. They know when to recognize when what they’re doing isn’t going to generate success. So what do successful people do? They quit. They quit doing what’s not leading them toward success so they can put their efforts into things that can lead to success.

As with Seth’s usual approach, he uses The Dip to talk about how to become the best in the world. This seems to be his new way of saying do something remarkable. But the core message is the same – be great to those who think you’re great. In other words – find your niche and become known as being great to those who you interact and work with.

So how do you know if you’re doing something you should quit? Well, according to Seth you need to know when your business is in The Dip“the long slog between starting and mastery.” It’s in The Dip that you decide whether it’s worth the effort and reward of climbing toward success or whether you should quit.

Now this doesn’t mean that if you’re a business coach you need to stop being a business coach. It could, but doesn’t need too. Rather, it means deciding if what you’re doing as a coach, your approach and your marketing, for instance, are going to be worth pushing hard through The Dip. If so, continue. But if not, consider quitting so you can take a different approach.

I’ve been working with this idea of quitting for the better part of a year. What I’ve seen in my own business is that I’m much more focused toward what will bring me greater success. Now, when I find myself in a dip whose slog isn’t worth the effort, I quit. Which means I quit a lot. And I’m more successful because of it.

I’m sure not everything you’re doing in your business is worth the slog. So have you ever considering quitting? Why or why not?

Let’s talk about it.

(note: image from Gabba Gabba Hey on Flickr)

Reader Interactions


  1. Home Recording says

    A useful tool is the Paretto’s 80/20 about which you had posted a while ago. Using this to analyze your activities at periodic intervals, you will be constantly discarding what is of no use any more.

  2. Shari Voigt says

    I agree – not everything is worth the slog. It comes down to a heart issue. For me personally, am I accomplishing the things that I really care about? For my customers, does the activity provide a true value? Does it matter in the long run? What’s the ROI?

    Quitting doesn’t have to carry a negative connotation. If we don’t quit the unimportant stuff, we’ll never have time to spend on things that matter.

  3. david finch says

    Absolutely!! I’ve discovered when I start thinking about quitting I uncover greater clarity to what I’m really suppose to be doing. The truth be known, there is probably a lot things that wouldn’t hurt if we would let go of them.

    Thanks for getting me to start thinking about quitting! 🙂

  4. Chris says

    I think that it’s important for business owners and entrepreneurs who are working on building a business or a project to continue to re-evaluate their progress while they are in “The Dip”. Many times people will continue to stay the course even though it may take them longer and be more difficult. A simple re-adjustment may be the key to breaking out of “The Dip” and opening up the floodgates. In other words every 3 to 6 months or whatever interval works for you take an inventory of what’s producing and what isn’t and discard that latter and explore ways to increase what’s working for you.

  5. Dawud Miracle says

    Home Recording,
    So true. What’s the point of continuing to do things that aren’t getting results – or worse, where the payoff isn’t worth the effort?

    Yeah, but in the States it’s almost sacrilege to quit. How have you been able to overcome that?

    Great point. One of the things Seth identifies in the book is when the dip becomes a cul-de-sac – a never ending circle that looks like a dip, but isn’t because there’s no chance of getting out of it. How could your idea for evaluating every 3 to 6 months help with the cul-de-sac?

  6. Bert says

    What a timely post. I have a copy of “The Dip” sitting right behind me on a table in my office waiting for me to read it.

    I have been thinking about the ‘idea’ of quitting certain things. Been feeling very unfocused and not very much satisfaction from my present “widget-making” activities.

    Sounds like a read through “The Dip” may help with analyzing the current state of affairs and, just possibly, some new found focus.

    Would you agree Dawud?

  7. Karen Putz / DeafMom says

    I finished “The Dip” a few weeks ago and have been mulling over some of the decisions I’m facing. My leadership at a non-profit that I’m running is facing a crossroads– do I commit deeper or do I get out now and focus on other things?
    I’m still wrestling with that one…

  8. Dawud Miracle says

    I don’t think it does, personally. But I know many do – as does our society. How do you overcome that?

    True. But if we take it out of business and make it more personal – such as with parenting – it’s the same principle. Parenting is tough work sometimes. And it requires flexibility and willingness to change. So you can use the dip concept to evaluate your parenting styles. Then it’s not about performance, but of what end result you’re hoping to attain.


    I would agree. Seth really doesn’t provide many solutions in any of his books. But what he does do is make you think differently about how you might solve a problem. The Dip definitely does that. Let me know what you think.

    Is the end game worth the effort it’ll take to climb out of the dip?

  9. Emirhan says

    I liked the way you’ve put things in the article, the emphasys and stress on constant re-evaluation of your position. Yet, however, there are moments in this life when quitting simply doesn’t fit.

    I know, when something becomes a resource hog, it’s time for serious scrutiny; but what if I did invest everything in my life in this certain business of mine? What if it’s my childhood dream to do exactly *this*? Edisson would’ve never discovered light bulbs, had he given up too early. Took him lots and lots of experimenting, changing, retrying, analyzing, to find The Thing.

    Every serious breakthrough in this world came after a period of trial-and-error longer than anyone would have expected. After much more effort than anyone would have considered worth it. But then again, only geniuses and tough people can work themselves to these extremes. For the rest of us, it’s “Quitting when the balance doesn’t incline anymore on our favour”.

    Just my two cents 🙂

  10. Skip Anderson says


    First: I like Seth Godin’s book “The Dip”, so I was glad to see you mentioned it.

    Secondly: For me, your post speaks to the idea of ROI. Time and energy are both resources, so we want to get the greatest return on investment of those resources. As Seth points out, it’s often best to push through “The Dip” and then you’ll be stronger on the other side because so many of your competitors will have given up.

    At other times, it’s best to quit so you can get a better return elsewhere. I think it’s a decision that we all have to make daily, really.

  11. Karen Putz / DeafMom says

    Is the end game worth the effort it’ll take to climb out of the dip?

    That’s what I’m wrestling with– yes, the end game is worth it, but at what price? Non-profits are tough to fund year to year. Now I’m looking at merging it with another organization that has a better foundation and structure to move ours to the next level. The question is, do I want to stay on for that or take another fork in the road ahead of me. Still pondering that.

  12. Dawud Miracle says

    And beyond things just not spending time on..consider looking at every difficult part of your business from this question:

    If I put in the time, effort and resources to solve this problem, will the result be worth the expense?

    Love to know what you decide – and why. Sometimes we need to take risks – make changes – to grow. Yet not all risks needed to be taken.

  13. Rob says

    That’s actually a great way to thnik about it. There are so many things that take up time and clutter up your time that losing a few of the less productive ones has to have a good effect.

    I guess I better go and buy Seth’s book. 🙂

  14. rob says

    The biggest problem, I find, is getting your head up and using the bigger picture to see where you are going. It’s easy to get dragged down into the minutae of a problem, without working out whether its really worth a candle.

    Getting out of it and quitting just seems to be more difficult as you get drawn it. Quitting does at times give a huge feeling of relief

  15. Dawud Miracle says

    True, from the perspective you’re coming from.

    Yet what I see, and what Seth Godin presents in The Dip, is that Edison, for example, quite a thousand times before inventing the lightbulb. With each failure he could have continued in the same direction. But he didn’t. He recognized his dip and changed course.

    The same can be said of life. Quitting doesn’t have to mean giving up. Rather it can mean doing things differently.

    Love to hear what you think…

    Totally true. He talks about becoming the ‘best in the world.’ And the way of doing that for a highly specific niche is to push through the difficulties to reach success.

    I presented this as sort of an ROI to get the conversation rolling. So glad you jumped in.

    And since you made the point of making the decisions daily, what tools/concepts do you use to help in the process?

    There is. Let me know what you think.

    Isn’t that where planning comes in?

    Quitting, in Seth’s point, isn’t always about relief. Rather, it’s about intelligence. It’s about knowing when the end game isn’t worth the effort. And while that can certainly bring relief, it can cause anguish as well.


  16. Bill Dueease says

    I am not sure using the term quit is accurate. Discovering the honest truth that something is not working and not going as desired, then adjusting direction and conditions would be more accurate. This is not a parsing of words, but an avoidance of the negativity of the term quit. I do not feel I have ever quit. But I have done what you call getting out of the slog. I completely changed a business because the conditions around me were altered, but I did not quit. I was fired, because I forced the owners of the company I built and I ran for them (whom I personally made extremely rich) to fire me, because they got tangled up with serious personal problems. I did not quit. They had to provide me an excellent termination payment, which I used to create my own business with great successes, while they filed for bankruptcy three years later.

    I do not believe you quit either. You just change the conditions around you to get out of the slog. If someone does not consider altering the program they are in because it is not working then the real problems arise. Quitting as you call it, or altering direction as I call it is very smart. Not doing so is, well, use whatever term you want.

  17. Dawud Miracle says

    I definitely see your point and agree in principle.

    Yet I like to look at the word quit because it brings up such interesting responses in people – in me. We have these odd beliefs/fears, maybe that we can’t quit at something. Why? What’s wrong with quitting? Does it show some sort of weakness?

    Don’t you find it interesting to look at the psychology behind words and how we use them – or avoid them?

  18. Bill Dueease says


    I also enjoy the many nuances of words. Quitting does elicit many negative and even fearful connotations. Hence the reason I questioned its use. However, in your case, you consider it a positive action to quit and use it to motivate you to new things. Terrific!

    And you probably achieved one of your goals-to get the attention and reactions of readers, (like me) by using the more inflammatory term “quit.” You got the double whammy! Congratulations

  19. Dawud Miracle says

    But it doesn’t have to be that way, does it?

    I’m glad you got it. Thanks. I do see quitting as being a positive thing – some of the time. The key, in this case, is to know what’s worth pushing through with and what’s not. And then not waste time on what’s not.

    What most interests me, being a student of human consciousness, is the feat that seems to come up around the word ‘quitting.’ Why do you think that is?

  20. Judd Exley says

    Nice article. I’ve shared many a sentiment with Mr. Godin, this is one of the biggest. I use an old axiom taught to me by a grizzled old rancher back in Montana:

    If what you got going ain’t workin, change it.

    Probably this, and most like it, are a variation on the Serenity Prayer, but they all basically mean the same thing, Constant and Diligent Self-Analysis.

    Rock on.

  21. hank says

    I like the idea, and agree with Bill Dueease’s reply at Apr 14, 2008 at 12:16 pm when he says, “I am not sure using the term quit is accurate.”

    The term is innately derogatory in peoples minds. Like the word “frugal” meaning “cheap”. “Quit” isn’t a bad word, it is just how you define it in your own mind that sets the stage… Maybe a better word would be “re-evaluate” that would drive people to know a specific path isn’t right for them…

    good post.

  22. Chip says

    I read The Dip last year hoping it would confirm what I felt in my gut and boy did it ever. My employer was in a position of growth and I had been recognized as a leader to help lead that growth. When the time came to assume that leadership position however, I was told I was the most qualified but the other person was already working closer to headquarters. I took this as a sign and resigned. And today the future is so bright I gotta wear shades!

  23. Carrie says

    It’s amazing what different path’s can lead you down, and quitting is useful in it’s own right.

    One thing I like to do is “quit” a way of doing things, and try a new approach.

  24. chantix says

    Quitting isn’t the way to success. By quitting your job you aren’t quitting the long term goal. You are keeping loyalty to yourself, not the employer. To stay with the employer is quitting the main goal.

  25. Dawud Miracle says

    Not only that…know before the ship runs aground that it’s not going to take you to where you want to go.

    Remember, this post is about knowing when to give up on something that isn’t going to lead you to what you ultimately want. That requires quitting. No shame, no worry. Just smart tactics.


  1. […] first heard about this concept from Dawud Miracle over at dmiracle.com, and it’s actually something that most of us know subconsciously but we sometimes find it […]

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