Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dip


I'm going to take a tiny breather from my retelling of the "Meg and Dia" story to talk about a little bit of what is happening now. I'm in "The Dip". One of my favorite business writers of all time is Seth Godin. I spent all of last night devouring one of his books, "The Dip", trying to search for answers to my personal situation. I kept hoping to flip a page and have the next paragraph say in big, bold, high-lighted letters, "O.K. Meg this is what you need to do. This is how you need to do it. And I KNOW this is the RIGHT decision." But I never found that paragraph, and so his book is only receiving 4.75 stars out of five from me.

"The Dip", writes Seth, is that place that a person arrives at after toiling for many years and getting past the fun, exciting part of the new activity where every aspect is going splendidly. All of you know what I'm talking about. Maybe you tried to learn the piano, or perhaps started cooking, or maybe you are learning a new language. 

Let's take "learning a new language" as an example. Of course, I'm a sucker for Paris, so let's say you want to learn French. Well, the beginning part is super exciting. You have a big grin on your face all the way to the book store to pick up Rosetta Stone for French. You spend the entire first two weeks drenched in all those pretty foreign words. Perhaps you even throw a little "I'm learning French" party complete with chocolate croissants and real sturdy coffee. You learn to say a few useful sentences which you constantly recite to your ever-more irritated pals. "Where is the bathroom?" "You look pretty." "Can I have some more, meatballs please?"

The Dip by Seth Godin
And then the dip happens… You know, the part where the learning process becomes REALLY difficult. Your new activity has lost its novelty. You begin to question whether you actually want to go through all the trouble, if it's worth it in the end. Maybe the Eiffel tower totally sucks in person and everyone smells like pasta sauce. Who needs that anyway?!

I've been in the dip when it comes to my guitar for about two years now. I never seriously would consider quitting, but the thought does flit momentarily through my mind...every day.

 Not many people make it out of the dip. That's why so many people drop out of law school and medical school. So many people accept mediocrity. 

Seth says if you can make it out of the dip, you are one of the scant few. The Dip is basically a filter that filters out the serious from not-so-serious. This creates scarcity and is the reason why the super stars of the world are SUPER STARS! They are "The Best In The World". When I spotted that phrase in the book for the first time, I flinched a bit.

The best in the world…

When I think of the best in the world, I think of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jobs, Bob Dylan. You know, people who, if they didn't start the culture, were a HUGE contribution to it. Seth says, if you can't be the "best in the world" at what your doing, than he gives you full permission to quit. He doesn't suggest quitting in a condescending way or in a looking-down-on-you way. He says it in a very constructive, positive way. Sometimes quitting on the thing that you'll never excel at is the best thing you can do for your career, your relationships, your life, because it allows you to start working on that thing that you were meant to do. You ever heard of Steven King? Well, did you know he studied to be a doctor and went all the way through medical school, years of his life spent at the university, only to decide that cutting people open wasn't for him, and he'd rather be a writer?!


I'm not saying I'm going to even attempt to come close to what Bob Dylan was to humanity. I'm also not going to try to be "The Best I Can Be". Something about that phrase always rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know why. It always seemed like…a "cop out" for some reason.

I guess I'm saying, if your in the dip, really think about what you REALLY want, because maybe it's worth it to press on, and...maybe it's not.

While reading this book, I had a huge moment of admiration for my sister, Dia Frampton. She's had a lot of success this past year, but even so, just observing the recent past tours she's been on, I know it hasn't been all cakes and ice cream... (o.k. maybe it has for her. Ha ha. But you guys know what I mean!) She'll never stop, and that's why she's going to be "The Best In The World" some day:)

So, I'm just hanging out in the dip today. I'm thinking about setting up camp in the very bottom of the dip, maybe set out a "welcome rug" outside my tent and hang up a clothes line. 

While playing my guitar today, going over and over the arpeggios of a "Dawes" song I'm working on, my whole body started rocking….back….and forth…back…and forth. It was like my guitar was holding me like I was a little kid and telling me, "Listen Meg. Listen to how beautiful and sad this melody is. Let it hold you for now."

Honestly,
Meg

22 comments:

  1. From my perspective, Dia is not the only one who has ha a year of success! Your jewelry is becoming very popular and you got to tour with Blake Shelton and the Fray. Maybe part of your success is because of Dia, but it all evens itself out, and youve maybe some pretty big accomplishments over this past year!

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    1. Ah Thanks Kalle. That's a great point! I don't want you to think that I take for granted all of the amazing things that have happened to me this year. It's been a great year for me to:) (And it's only half way over!) Ha ha.

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  2. Haha, I'm French!
    I hope you'll get out of the dip soon. Just wanted to say that "a million" is awesome. It has the same effect on me that the MaD song "Halloween". I can't explain why, but these are the kind of songs that deeply touch you, and remind you why you love music so much. So thanks for that!

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    1. Well, if you're French, I'm jealous! How do I say, "robot" in French? :)

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    2. You say "robot", except with a french accent ;) Phonetically, it'd give something like "robo". You don't pronounce the "t".

      BTW, Misery is my fave SK book. And as for the khaki scouts, it immediatly reminded of "Moonrise Kingdom", I loved it so much.

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  3. I enjoy this. Perhaps I'll pick up the book and give it a whirl. People enjoy reading a lot, but I did not grow up like many people. Reading was always a forced chore created school work. However, once in a while I do find it fun to read a book. Usually these books are the one I want to plow through and never put down because of the BRAIN STIMULATION. Anyways, I sort of fell as if I am in "The Dip" right now too. Continuously looking for full time jobs and deciding whether or not I should go further in school to obtain a masters despite my ability to get good grades and write professor pleasing papers, I don't enjoy it.

    Well, have a nice day Meg. Enjoy your time at camp, but remember you can't camp forever! Vacations always end (unless you're retired...and you can't be. No, no you're not even thirty or a millionaire).

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    1. Kenny, you sound like Nick in the first part of your comment. Ha ha. Funny thing, is I'm literally going on vacation to San Diego in about a week or so, so I definitely know that all vacations end. Sad, but true.

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  4. Meg, liteally everything you write is so deep and toughtful. It really gets the rest of us thinking about ourselves and our life. Thank you for doing what you do, because...We believe that you do it best!

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    1. Good! Sometimes, I have these crazy thoughts and I think, "Well, good thing I have a blog to write this stuff all down!" Glad you enjoy it. I rather like the conversations that happen in the comments most of all, so thanks for commenting.

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  5. I have definitely experienced life in "the dip" stage when it comes to my writing. I have been writing poetry since the second grade... just for me... (hopefully progressing now that I'm 24 ;))... but there have certainly been points in time where I've thought "whats the point?"

    It's good to know that other people experience this. That it doesn't make you weak for your momentary lack of interest or ability. And that someone as talented as you can experience it as well.

    I think your honesty, in general- not just in this post, is something to admire. I look forward to more reading & to whatever adventures come for The Khaki Scouts.

    All the best,

    Heather Marie

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    1. Well, thanks Heather. You seem like an eloquent writer to me.

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  6. Awesome post as usual Meg! You are one of the best in my book, if that means anything :)

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  7. I have definitely experienced life in "the dip" stage when it comes to my writing. I have been writing poetry since the second grade... just for me... (hopefully progressing now that I'm 24 ;))... but there have certainly been points in time where I've thought "whats the point?"

    It's good to know that other people experience this. That it doesn't make you weak for your momentary lack of interest or ability. And that someone as talented as you can experience it as well.

    I think your honesty, in general- not just in this post, is something to admire. I look forward to more reading & to whatever adventures come for The Khaki Scouts.

    All the best,

    Heather Marie

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  8. This is a great post. I bookmarked it for future reference. If I ever feel like I'm in 'The Dip' I can look back and read this post to help me figure out what I should do.

    By the way, I've been learning french for 5 years now in school and I can tell you, it's easier when you have to learn it and giving up isn't an option. But personally, it was never that bad...

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  9. If every day were a vacation, then vacations would stop being special. I think it's better to be excited about and look forward to your time off. There's a reason it's called "recreation" or as a few prefer, "re-creation." Unless it's just goofing off...most people know the difference. :)

    Also, don't discount the sense of self-satisfaction, enjoyment and pride that comes from doing something that is personally challenging or just difficult for anyone to do.

    BTW, I saw and loved your awesome guitar solo at your and Dia's opener for the Blake Shelton show in Worcester, MA in February. Terrific show by EVERYONE that night.

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  10. I'll have to check this book out-it seems very interesting!

    I have to say this, and please don't take it the wrong way, I'm just the type that if I get something on my mind I have to say it.

    I don't know if this is coming from you or the book but first you say that "Steven King" went through medical school and then you show a book by "Stephen King". On purpose? Because Stephen King, as far as I know and I'm a big fan, never went to medical school. If you have info that I don't about that please point me to it!

    Sorry for being nit-picky. No harm meant! :)

    The concept of "The Dip" do sound like something I'd like to sink my teeth in to.

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  11. I love reading your blogs Meg. It's so nice at the end of my workweek, to kick back and read your blog :). I've felt like I've been in a dip lately, I play the piano but haven't regularly played in almost 2 years. Life just got in the way, work to be done and bills to pay. Also, just plain in general not having access to a keyboard/piano. I also sing also, but thankfully I have a very quiet weekly janitorial job at night where I can sing my heart out. Especially to my favorite Meg & Dia songs. Hopefully I'll be able to play more piano sometime. Your blogs really speak to me, and I really connect with them sometimes. So glad to hear you're working on some music. You and Dia are both really great artists, I can't wait to see what else you both come up with as you continue to make music!!

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  12. Hi Meg!

    Interesting post. I find this to be exactly true looking back on life's journey. I think it touches on previous convo's about having many "dips" over a life time. I dip and re-dip every 10 years or so. But sometimes it's just 2 weeks like the language scenario. I think the key is... to keep moving forward and keep being interested in whatever one does.

    The only thing that's hard to wrap around regarding the book is: Being the very best at what you do. Take guitar for example. Eddie Van Halen would be considered by many to be the best of the best. And he was hugely successful. Neil Young is not really a guitar virtuoso... but equally talented in a different way. The spectrum of music is wide and vast...as is the people attracted to it. There is a wide variety of what would be described as "the best of the best". That's why a Dia can survive with a Metallica.

    Like said before... I think if one gets stuck or set up in "dip-land"... travel travel travel. It opens doors you will never ever think of or understand until it's presented.

    Peace out...

    Spider

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  13. In my mind, you're right. "The Dip" is just the place to take stock of what you want and gather the motivation before tackling another wall in your path to success. Ultimately, you'll define what success is for you. Often times, what we want is out of our hands anyway.
    The pursuit of excellence can be a prison too, and there is something to say for peace of mind as I don't think that humans were built to constantly live in competition. Sooner or later, the next dip could be a very nice home.

    “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

    ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

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  14. I know I'm a little late on this but I think you should try checking out Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. At least the little preview they give on Amazon.

    After the introduction chapter, the first chapter actually talks about Bob Dylan and similarly how he reached what Seth Godin calls "The Dip"

    "Before Bob Dylan could reinvent himself, writing the best music of his career, he needed to believe he had nothing left to say."

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  15. I'm actually about to start up French classes this coming year for my foreign language requirements... It's going to be so exciting at first. Like you said, the "novelty"... but I know I'm going to hit a slump eventually.

    But all you've said in this post is so relevant. I think that that's why I've never "pulled through" with everything I've ever had my heart set on... because when I get to a "good point", let's say, about playing music, I realize it's going to take a lot more than just playing gigs with my friends. As much as I really want to full-out take the wheel and pursue something with it, I'm met with the whole "best in the world" thing. I know I can never be that "best", because there's other things I want to do in my life. To be the best, I've found, you have to sacrifice a lot of things. And, I guess over time, I'll have to learn to sacrifice some things... I just hope I don't let that fear stop me from going where I want to go!

    Best of luck Meg, and thanks for posting! You're a brilliant gal, do whatever your heart desires. You'll get somewhere, and you've already gotten many things under your belt!

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