If might be an obvious question but competition pushes you to be more determined. Competition is rarely a pleasant business. Dealings with competitors can be full of treachery and resentment Often, one of the primary motivations of a competitor is to lengthen your time in the Dip. Specifically, an established competitor will create a marketplace that makes it very hard for you to gain a foothold.
The tech giant Microsoft, for example, turned programs like Word and Excel into industry standards. As a result, the market for word processing and spreadsheet software has been virtually impregnable. Given how extremely hard it is for a rival to catch up, they’ve effectively put any potential competitor into a prolonged Dip.
Nevertheless, it isn’t impossible. A company called Intuit released the accounting software Quicken and since it was an innovative product comparable to Microsoft’s, they were able to persevere, highlighting the quality and security their program offered.
Competitors have also succeeded in changing the platform on which the services are offered. In order to successfully compete with Microsoft, Google has focused on web-based word processing and spreadsheet services that are built-in to a customer’s Google account.
Another benefit of sticking with it and challenging yourself to get through the Dip is that it will keep you from settling for mediocrity.
While there’s nothing wrong with settling for a job as a cashier in a quaint suburban shop, there’s a good chance this won’t help you to reach your full potential. On the other hand, persevering through the Dip can bring out the best in you and even make you more talented than when you started.
For example, if your new online photography blog doesn’t catch on right away, you can use this Dip time to sharpen your writing, photography and web design skills and make your online destination more attractive. This way, even if your blog never catches on as you’d hoped, you’ll have gained valuable skills that can be put to use on your next online project.
If you’ve ever been stuck in a long line at the supermarket, you know how tempting it can be to switch to another checkout lane in the hopes of getting out a little bit quicker. But there’s always a chance that once you switch to the other line, that first one will start to speed up and you’ll end up waiting longer than you would have in the first place!
This supermarket scenario can be applied to careers and personal projects too. If something seems to be slowing down or stalled, you may be tempted to move everything over to a new endeavor – but what’s really needed is patience and grit, otherwise known as determination.
This is certainly true for sales: In one influential study, researchers found that if a salesperson can’t convince a customer to buy after five sales pitches, they’ll give up on them. However, the study also showed that 80 percent of customers were more likely to make a purchase after hearing seven sales pitches. Therefore, most of the salespeople were calling it quits too early. If they’d just shown a bit more grit and patience they might have sealed the deal.
Patience and determination is also needed for surviving the Dip time before your product catches on.
You may think that we’re living in a time where people are quick to buy whatever the latest innovative product is, but that’s not always the case. Even if you have a clever idea or a game-changing product, the general public always wait for new things to be regarded as high quality, reliable or prestigious before they even consider parting with their hard-earned money.
As a result, even ingenious ideas can spend a long time in the Dip before they become popular.
A good example is the shoemaker Jimmy Choo. Born in 1948, Choo had been making quality shoes since he was 11 years old. But his career didn’t take off until he was in his late thirties, a couple of years after he moved from Malaysia to London and opened his first American shoe store in 1986. While he was always a talented craftsman, it was his grit and perseverance through the Dip that really allowed him to become an iconic international fashion brand.
While it’s undoubtedly beneficial to have grit, it’s nevertheless wise to know when to cut your losses and quit a project that’s clearly falling apart. But there’s also a smart way to both quit and simultaneously stick with your chosen field.
When something is clearly not working, there’s no sense in letting it continue to drain your time, energy and resources. But that doesn’t mean you should quit the market that you’ve grown familiar with and gained experience within. Doing so would just be yet another waste of your time, energy and resources.
Let’s say you’ve decided to shut down a magazine that was no longer financially feasible. You may be so heartbroken over the magazine’s demise that you want to abandon the publishing world altogether and start a restaurant. But the smart plan would be to stay in the media market and use the experience you’ve gained to become an editor for someone else’s magazine or newspaper, or perhaps start an online publication.
The next time you feel like quitting, make sure you consider all your options before throwing in the towel. It’s best to take the time to think creatively – beyond all the obvious choices.
David is a friend of the author, and at one point he was so unhappy at work he felt like quitting. The problem was that his boss was so incompetent that he was making it impossible for David to produce good work and feel satisfied about his job.
David’s frustrations finally reached the point where he wanted to hand in his resignation. But instead of overreacting, he wisely took the time to consider all the other options at his disposal. In the end, he had productive conversations with his boss as well as his boss’s superior.
David was candid in explaining the reasons why he felt unable to contribute his best work under the current circumstances. As a result, David was transferred to another department where he was given a new boss and a promotion! Certainly, this was a better outcome than being unemployed.
So remember, when you find yourself in the Dip, don’t doubt yourself and your commitment or abilities. Instead, lean into it and think of it as your friend, not your enemy. In the end, you’ll find yourself stronger and in a better position for having risen to the occasion.
In life, you should strive to be the best at what you do. And to make this happen, it’s important to focus your time and energy on the one thing that you’re skilled and passionate about, and to let go of projects that are competing for your interests. Once you get going with a project, you will eventually face a Dip – a period of struggle, effort and little reward. To make it through this period, you must use grit and patience. Once you make it through the Dip, you’ll find that your skills have improved and that you are now in a better position than many of your competitors. Therefore, the Dip is the path to success.
Before you leave, try this out. Keep going, especially when it hurts.
We’re most inclined to give up during the moments when we feel hurt and discouraged. For example, in 1988 the Democrat Joe Biden was a promising candidate for the U.S. presidency. But then a scandal erupted around a trivial accident involving a quote in one of Biden’s speeches that had been mistakenly attributed to the wrong person. Biden was so discouraged by the overblown reaction that he withdrew his candidacy. However, if he’d persevered and allowed the minor scandal to blow over, he could very well have won.
So think twice about retreating when you’re feeling wounded and vulnerable. It’s probably best to take a moment to lick your wounds and then forge ahead.
Check out my related post: How can you be more successful in life by answering two questions?