My Top 10 Highlights From START by Jon Acuff

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About once every six weeks I post my version of a book review, which is really just the top 10 passages that I ran over with my highlighter when I was reading it. If I share a book with you, it means it resonated with me enough to recommend it. But read the highlights and decide for yourself if it’s a book that you might like to read.

10 minutes ago I finished START by Jon Acuff. Jon has written a couple of NYT Best Sellers and partially rose to fame as a speaker and member of Dave Ramsey’s team. START outlines the 5 stages of a successful life: Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, Guiding. One of the main themes is that we don’t just go through the stages once, if we’re smart and have a bit of drive, we can go through the stages over and over to make our ideas and passions come to life.

Jon is very funny. He also uses the word, awesome, a lot. I mean a LOT a lot. Once I got used to that I really enjoyed the rest.


My top 10 highlights from START by Jon Acuff:


Age is no longer the primary factor that determines where you are on the map. Life is now less about how old you are and more about when you decide to live.


I’m not a fan of “finding your purpose.” I’m a fan of “living with purpose.”


Luck is a word people who are lazy use to describe people who are hustling.


I’ve learned something: no one has a positive internal voice. No one’s internal voice tells them, “You’re skinny enough. You sure are pretty. People are going to love that new project you’re working on. It’s going to be a huge success.” Which makes me curious about what your voices are telling you. Most of us tend to think they’re telling us the truth. We’ve heard them for so long that we trust them. We think they’re looking out for us, that they’ve got our best in mind. That they’re trying to protect us or help us. We think our voices are friends, but they’re not. They’re foes. (from Jon’s friend Al Andrews)


The second you choose to be more awesome, fear will ask you a question: “Who are you to do that?” Fear doesn’t care what your particular “that” is. You could be starting a business or quitting a job. You could be writing a book or becoming a nanny. Doesn’t matter to fear. The specifics never do. Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.


Doubt and fear are like muscles. Every time you believe a lie about yourself, it gets easier to believe it the next time.


Often when you strike out on a new adventure…people will ask you, “Have you ever done that before?” And here is how my dad (and now I) answer when life asks us the question…’No, but I’m about to.”


Time is the only indication of what really matters to us.


1 insult + 1000 compliments = 1 insult


Do you know what’s better than words? Action. Actions always beat words. Action always beats intention. What you’ve done is always more powerful that what you’re going to do.


Check out START by Jon Acuff at Amazon

Check out my recent Top 10 highlights from:


BONUS QUOTES FROM START – If you have time, these are pretty good, too.

Most of us, when it comes to figuring out where we’re headed in life, never stop to ask the simple question, “Where am I?”


When a parent, a boss, a teacher, a spouse, or a friend tells you what you can’t be, they’re predicting a future they don’t control. They don’t know what 25 or 25 or 55 looks like for you.


Purpose is not a final destination.


When confronted with work and a reward, we would all prefer the reward first or at least as soon as possible. But the path to awesome doesn’t work that way.


I’ve never met a farmer who was surprised by his crops. Who stood on a front porch, in overalls I’m assuming, and stared at a crop of blood oranges when he clearly remembered planting soybeans. If you work hard, you tend to expect results.


You don’t need to go back in time to be awesome; you just have to start right now. Regretting that you didn’t start earlier is a great distraction from moving on your dream today, and the reality is that today is earlier than tomorrow.


Fear tries to tell you two things about time: “Do it later” or “It’s too late” The first delays you with laziness. The second destroys you with regret. And neither is true.


Change has to be simple. Especially new change. It has to be easily manageable, or we’ll fail at it before we even start. We can add on other changes down the road, but when we’re beginning our journey, we just need to get one thing right. One tiny taste of progress. The mountain can wait. It’s been there for years and will still be there tomorrow. We don’t have to scale it all at once.


Nobody gets up early on the road to average. Nobody stays up late on the road to average.


  1. If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?
  2. Are those the things I’m spending time doing right now?


What can you not stop doing?


We tend to add complexities to our challenges because if the problem is simple to solve, then we have to change. And change is scary. So when faced with a  challenge we really don’t want to fix, we tend to overcomplicate the issues.


Being awesome is about finding the core of who you are and what lights you up. Once you’ve discovered that, you can have a million different jobs.


Awesome doesn’t let the crowd determine the size of the performance. Awesome gets up for two people or 200. Awesome writes great books even if no one is going to read them. Awesome sweeps the parts of store floors that no foot will ever touch. Awesome can’t help itself.


The three best things you can do to get some experience are: Volunteer. Take a part-time job. Be led.


We often think talent is the key to awesome. But if you pull the curtain back on most of the people we’d call “geniuses,” what you find is an incredible amount of hard work.


Ask a farmer someday if the harvest season is easy.


You will work harder at something you love than at something you like. You will work harder than you have ever worked when you start chasing a dream. You will hustle and grind and sweat and push and pull. you will get up earlier and go to bed later. But that’s ok. Know why? Joy is an incredible alarm clock. It will wake you up and keep you up and pick you up and gently pull you through a thousand rejections along the way.


Being vulnerable about your failures is only half of the story; you have to be vulnerable enough to share your successes, too.


The real tragedy of a one-hit wonder is when someone succeeds once and then never tries again.


If you share honestly about your own failures, people can often avoid having the same thing happen to them. If you stepped in a hole na it hurt, it helps if you tell other people not to step in that same hole.



Check out START by Jon Acuff at Amazon




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