Prone to grow: The 4 things I learned from START, the latest book from Jon Acuff

I’ve followed Jon Acuff for a few years, all the way back to when he was writing his blog Stuff Christians Like. Having grown up in the church, I could relate to the things he wrote about, and I appreciated his humorous approach to church culture. I purchased the book version of SLC as well as his last book, Quitter, which lays out ways to define your dream and passions and pursue them.

start bookI got to attend the Quitter conference last fall, which enabled me and a small group of other attendees to receive an early electronic copy of Jon’s latest book, START. Though it wasn’t a requirement, the hope was that many of us would read the book before it’s public release and post reviews for others to consider. I was initially reluctant do this, primarily because I don’t want this blog space to become a place where I’m pitching products all the time. But I enjoyed the book, and I hope my feedback will be helpful for someone as they consider reading it or purchasing it.

From a macro level, START is a natural follow-up to Quitter. Perhaps it’s more “Quitter Part 2,” though it seems a little lighter on the practical applications and heavier on honesty and motivation–though there are plenty of practical tips in it if that’s what you’re looking for. I just didn’t get as many of those out of it as I did reading Quitter. This isn’t a criticism of the book–just an explanation of the differences between the two. With or without practicalities, START is worth a read.

I’m sure other people had their own take-aways from START, and with any book recommendation, it’s always helpful to get a variety of opinions. Here are four of my favorite quotes from the book:

* “Luck is a word people who are lazy use to describe people who are hustling.”–Jon consistently makes the point that our dreams require work–and often lots of work. We have to be willing to put in this “hustle,” especially as we’re starting out, in order to reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves.

* “Instead of asking, ‘What would I love to start doing?’ let’s ask, ‘What can I not stop doing?'” This is helpful as you consider future plans. What do you already love doing? Since I really don’t enjoy cleaning my house, I’m never going to dream about owning a cleaning business or likely even write about it. But I do love sharing ideas and conversation and debates and travel and food–those are the things I want to pursue.

* Getting “lost inside my expectation.”–Like it or not, we set expectations of ourselves as we pursue our goals, like being at a certain “place” or level in a certain amount of time. It’s easy to get lost in this expectation, but it’s also potentially detrimental to your goals.

* “You will work harder at something you love than at something you like.”–Again, what are the areas you’re already working hard at? What are the things you do that don’t even feel like work? Perhaps somewhere in there is where your true passions lie.

START is really more about the long view of pursuing our goals, while Quitter was more about what we can be doing now to define those goals and get started on them while quitting the things that were holding us back. START talks about the five stages of pursuing and reaching your dreams: learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. Jon does a great job at explaining each of these areas with relevant, real-world examples for each one, including the stages he admits he hasn’t reached yet.

As with all of his writing, Jon shares his ideas with humor and honesty–two traits that I’ve always appreciated. If you’re already considering START, I definitely recommend it. And if you’re not, I would encourage you to try it out, especially if you’re in a season of taking stock of life and figuring out where you want to be and what you want to be doing, both in a day job and in your dream job. You can find the book on Amazon, and Jon is currently running a promotion with some really nice bonus features for when you order the book before Tuesday.

If you’ve been waiting to get moving on the goals and dreams you have for yourself, then it’s time to START.

P.S.–This is not a paid book review. I don’t receive any benefit from talking about START, and neither of the links above are affiliate links. These are just my opinions about the book, though I hope you enjoy it and come back and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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