The Dip by Seth Godin is a pretty good book. It’s about quitting and I guess it’s about not quitting. It’s very interesting, and insightful. There is a metaphor that Godin uses that is perfect for jiu-jitsu, and it is also the name of the book—The Dip.
In jiu-jitsu when you first start, you’re a little anxious, you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into, but soon after you start to feel comfortable. You learn a technique or two and everything is great. Then it’s time to train.
You get demolished.
No matter what you do you are constantly tapping. For weeks and or months you don’t have a single victory. This is what Godin describes as the dip. Things start out well then go downhill for a period of time then eventually climb back up an surpass your expectations.
Godin suggests that the worst thing you can do is quit in the middle of the dip. You should either quit when you realize jiu-jitsu isn’t for you, or you should push yourself through the dip and get the satisfaction of applying jiu-jitsu techniques correctly and having success on the mat.
This is the scenario in jiu-jitsu. A guy comes in to class, he’s excited about jiu-jitsu, he gets his butt kicked in a friendly manner. Now a couple things usually happen: either the guy doesn’t like jiu-jitsu and he never comes back, or he instantly falls in love with it and can’t wait to come back, or he kind of likes it and is willing to come back to give it another shot.
The best thing to do, according to Godin, is to either quit that day, or dedicate yourself to it even if it gets tough. You shouldn’t quit before you’ve had success with it. You shouldn’t quit in the dip.
That happens too often, guys start jiu-jitsu and when they don’t have immediate success, they quit. I’ve noticed that big guys quit more often than smaller guys. I think it has something to do with ego. We can’t handle tapping to a smaller guy. We come to class thinking we’ll kill people with these new techniques, and we soon find ourselves the ones tapping. We find ourselves in a dip. We aren’t “winning” so we quit. If we would give ourselves some time, if we would let ourselves work out of the dip, in time, we would win, and quite frankly we would become better people by persevering.
Not all big guys quit, I didn’t. I remember my first day of jiu-jitsu. I got my ass kicked by a 145lber named Wayne. I remember waking up the next morning with mat burn on my knees and sore as hell thinking, I’ve got to learn this. Eventually I saw some progress. I made it across the dip and, well, it kind of changed the direction of my life. Ten years ago, If you would have told me that I would own two jiu-jitsu schools and be trying to start a jiu-jitsu company I would have thought you were crazy, but making it through the dip can change you.