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The Dip: How CrossFit and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Exemplify Seth Godin's Concept

By Jason David

Seth Godin’s concept of "The Dip" provides a powerful framework for understanding the challenges that arise between starting a new endeavor and achieving mastery. The Dip is that tough, prolonged period where progress slows, motivation wanes, and many quit. This concept is highly relevant not only in business and entrepreneurship but also in physical pursuits like CrossFit and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Let's explore how The Dip manifests in these two disciplines and why understanding it is crucial for long-term success.

Understanding The Dip

According to Seth Godin, The Dip consists of several key phases:

Initial Excitement:

This is the honeymoon phase where everything is new and exciting, and progress is often rapid.

Emergence of The Dip:

As the initial excitement fades, the real challenges begin to surface. Progress slows significantly, and the effort required to advance increases.

The Long Slog:

The Dip is characterized by a lengthy, difficult period where maintaining motivation is tough. This phase can last a considerable amount of time, during which results may be minimal and frustrations high.

Feeling Stuck:

It's common to feel stuck during The Dip, leading many to question whether continuing is worth it.

The Dip serves as a natural filter, distinguishing those who are truly committed from those who are not. Those who persevere through The Dip are the ones who eventually achieve success and mastery.

The Dip in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, The Dip typically occurs between the second stripe on the white belt and achieving the purple belt. Here's how it unfolds:

Initial Enthusiasm: 

New practitioners often experience rapid progress and excitement as they learn the basics and start to understand the fundamentals.

Challenges Arise:

As they advance, techniques become more complex and physically demanding. The initial quick wins are harder to come by, and many start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of techniques they need to master.

The Long Slog:

This is the period where practitioners feel stuck. Progress slows, and it feels like they are constantly struggling to improve. This stage tests their commitment and resilience.

Feeling Stuck:

Many practitioners question their ability to continue, as the path to the next belt seems long and arduous.

Those who push through this phase find that their skills and understanding deepen significantly, leading to higher levels of proficiency and eventually mastery.

The Dip in CrossFit
In CrossFit, The Dip usually appears around the one-year mark. Here’s how it unfolds:

Initial Gains: 

Newcomers to CrossFit often see rapid improvements in strength, endurance, and skill during the first few months.

Hitting the Wall:

After about a year, progress plateaus. Workouts feel tougher, and visible gains are harder to achieve. The initial excitement wears off, and workouts become more of a grind.

Endurance Test: 

This phase requires continued dedication despite minimal apparent progress. It's a test of mental and physical resilience, as athletes must push through tough workouts without the immediate rewards they once experienced.

Feeling Stuck: 

Many CrossFitters feel stuck and question their ability to improve further. The challenge is to maintain motivation and keep pushing through the tough workouts.
Those who persevere beyond this phase often reach new heights in their fitness journey, achieving advanced levels of strength, endurance, and skill.

Applying The Dip to Physical Endeavors
Seth Godin’s concept of The Dip is not limited to business and entrepreneurship; it is equally applicable to physical pursuits like BJJ and CrossFit. Understanding The Dip can help practitioners of these disciplines in several ways:

Anticipating Challenges: 

Knowing that The Dip is a natural part of the process helps prepare mentally for the tough times ahead.

Building Resilience:

Strengthening mental and physical resilience is crucial for pushing through The Dip.

Staying Focused on Long-Term Goals:

Keeping the end goals in mind helps maintain motivation during the difficult periods.

Seeking Support:

Surrounding oneself with a supportive community can provide encouragement and advice, making it easier to navigate The Dip.


Whether you're rolling on the mats in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or grinding through a tough CrossFit workout, The Dip is an inevitable part of the journey. By understanding and embracing The Dip, you can build the resilience and perseverance needed to achieve long-term success. The journey through The Dip is tough, but the rewards on the other side are well worth the effort. So, keep pushing, stay committed, and remember that mastery lies just beyond The Dip.

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