What Won’t Get You Through The Dip

Last month I’d published an article about Seth Godin’s book called “The Dip“.

As a continuation (or an aside) to that article, I wanted to add my own two-pence worth and write about what characteristics/personality traits won’t get you past the Dip.

Although this wasn’t covered in the book itself, I feel that thinking about the Dip from this angle will be an enriching mental exercise.

What won’t get you through the Dip?

Inability to withstand uncertainty

Cognitive closure (Kruglanski and Webster, 1996) refers to a natural need to have a definite answer to a question, anything opposed to confusion or ambiguity.

“Two highly related tendencies are assumed to underlie this need, namely ‘urgency’, that is the need to arrive at closure quickly, and ‘permanency’, that is the need to remain at closure once it has been achieved.”

-Hewstone, Stroebe, and Jonas (2012)

As humans, we hate uncertainty and will strive to eliminate it by any means possible. We want cognitive closure ASAP and we want to maintain it for as long as possible.

Olivia Fox Cabane, author of ‘The Charisma Myth’, offers a biological explanation as to why we are so averse to uncertainty. Here’s Olivia:

“[Uncertainty] registers almost like physical pain in the brain. There is a tension, a gap where the brain is not easy again until it is resolved. (…)

Some are more comfortable with this uncertainty. So entrepreneurs are naturally more comfortable.

When you hit a maximum threshold of comfort – fight or flight happens and cognitive function and emotional functioning shuts down.”

The Dip can easily fill you with paralysing self-doubt.

It can be uncomfortable.

Not many can tolerate such a breeding ground for doubt and discomfort.

It can stress you out and run you into the ground.

Entrepreneurs are more likely to withstand the wherewithal of the Dip because they have a higher threshold for the discomfort a lack of certainty generates.


As impulsive creatures, we strive for instant gratification.

This manifests itself in our cravings and our difficulty to come to terms with the fact that success isn’t built overnight. Read more about playing the long game here.

Inability to withstand short-term pain

“When people quit, they are often focused on the short-term benefits. In other words, ‘if it hurts; stop!’ (…)

When a kid drops out of football or karate, it’s not because she’s carefully considered the long-term consequences of her action. She does it because her coach keeps yelling at her, and it’s not fun. It’s better to stop.

Short-term pain has more impact on most people than long-term benefits do, which is why it’s so important for you to amplify the long-term benefits of not quitting.

Never quit something with great long term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.”

-Seth Godin, The Dip

Adherence to a fixed-mindset

Carol Dweck in her bestselling book Mindset talks about two mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

A person with a fixed mindset will believe that their abilities are carved in stone and cannot be exceeded.

A person with a growth-mindset, however, will believe that potential is unlimited and you can always get better with each passing day.

If you have a fixed-mindset and you’re in the Dip, you are your own worst enemy. If you don’t make it past this difficult period, you will only have yourself to blame for it.

Personality grows out of the mindset you adhere to.

So choose to develop a beneficial mindset to grow a favourable personality.

Rid yourself of limiting beliefs like “I can’t get through this”.

Catch yourself whenever you do self-deprecating mental gymnastics whereby you feel like giving up, you feel unworthy.

Think of the Dip as a challenge, an opportunity for growth and character development.

If you get through the Dip – that’s fantastic.

If you fail – be well aware that you’re better off for going through that difficult experience.

P.S. Thanks for reading. If you liked this, feel free to sign up to my free weekly newsletter.


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