Read Start. Repeat.

Your dreams don’t begin on the couch in front of the TV. Your life’s purpose won’t be found in bright shiny objects or the singular pursuit of money.

And although the keys to personal and financial fulfillment won’t be found in one book, you’ll get closer than ever with Jon Acuff’s new book “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.”

Are You On the Road to Average, or Awesome?

You know the drill: As a kid, grownups tell us if you go to school, study for a career and get a good job, you’ll make lots of money and be happy for the rest of your life.

What a load of crap.

If you’re a LiveWorkDream reader, you know as well as I do that this isn’t how life works. Even for the folks who were smart enough to study for a money-making career (I wasn’t), it all comes at a price. Time and personal fulfillment are the biggest sacrifices. If you want to ensure that you reach the end of your life as a happy individual who’s made a positive impact on the world doing what you love most, get your hands on a copy of this book.

Start” is a roadmap for a trip to awesomeness. Acuff shares what it takes to be personally and financially fulfilled no matter how many times you find yourself in the unemployment line or just bored with your line of work. He lays out the steps that all successful people have taken, like his mentor Dave Ramsey, and clearly articulates the path to achieve awesomeness (fair warning: awesome is his favorite word in this book and mentioned at least a thousand times).

Unfortunately, just like the dogma we’re fed as kids, the road to awesome isn’t that easy either:

“If it’s that easy to walk down the path though, if the steps are so clearly marked, why don’t more people do it? Well, the bad news is it’s not the only path on the map. And, like a back road through the mountains, the path to awesome is much narrower than the other, more common path.

Billions of people have traveled and continue to travel the other path, and it grows wider every year. The terrain is easy – grassy even – and after a brief incline it follows a safe and steady decline that mostly allows for casual coasting.

It sounds nice. It feels effortless when you’re on it.

The trouble is that on this wide path, you don’t end up at awesome. You just end up at old. This path is called “average.”

So how do you get to be old and awesome? Follow Acuff’s book. Come to terms with the fact that “retirement” is dead and most of us will need to reinvent ourselves at least a half dozen times throughout our lives. Being awesome means harnessing the power of technology and the Internet to learn, to showcase your expertise to the world, to do good by helping others with the activities that rock your world and boost your bank account.

“Regardless of your age or station in life, it all comes down to one simple truth: you just have to start.”

Acuff is a witty, funny author with a razor-sharp style that encourages full-speed ahead reading. He takes you by the hand and guides you through the trajectory of a successful career and life by breaking up the road to awesome into five key areas

  1. Learning: Educating yourself about pursuits that bring fulfillment, not just money
  2. Editing: Winnowing down the activities that rock your world
  3. Mastering: Fine tuning your talents
  4. Harvesting: Reaping the benefits of your accomplishments in both personal and financial aspects
  5. Guiding: Giving back, passing on what you’ve learned to others

You’ll laugh out loud more than once, especially when he humorously but humbly describes his own less-than-successful career moves like stealing money from his grandma’s church or losing over 20,000 Facebook fans after he neglected to maintain the group that launched his career. Using what he’s learned, Acuff teaches you how to dream, but “dream honestly” so you can pursue your life’s passions without sacrificing your career employer, friends and family’s needs.

“Anyone can dream. It’s the doing that’s such a hassle.”

You’ll love the practical advice to help you discover if you’re really following your dreams or just talking about it. Tips such as

  • Survey the seven key areas of your life: physical, spiritual, financial, family, social, intellectual and career. Which ones feel average?
  • Do a seventy-two hour audit, writing down the thirty-minute chunks of time you spend over a three-day period [two weekdays and one weekend day]).
  • Answer the question: “If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?” Write down one to five answers, then ask yourself, “Are those the things I’m spending time doing right now?”
  • Ask this question first: “What gives me the most joy?” Don’t ask, “What am I good at right now?” or “What will make the most money?” or “What will cause the least inconvenience in my life?”
  • Create a list of people who are doing what you’d like to do. Research one to three things from each of these people that you can incorporate into your own road to awesome.

Start” isn’t the kind of book you finish and forget about. It’s a reference book for the rest of your life, for every time that a little voice whispers in your head “Am I awesome . . . . or just average?

If you’re here, I know that you aren’t average. “Get this book. Read it. Live it. Pass it on. Repeat.

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2 Responses to “Read Start. Repeat.”

  1. Eric Auckerman June 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm Reply

    Wow, Mr. Acuff not only delivers the “cool” but the “aid” as well, all told, that makes “Kool-aid” and he must drink a lot of it to say the word “awesome” as a filler, or for rhythmic effect?

    We as a species are luck in so many ways, think about, we’ve got opposable thumbs, toilet paper, and germ theory which brings me to my point. Though Mr. Acuff suggests “retirement” is dead (or at least smells funny) and you should not delay doing that which will make you happy or fulfilled, I’d like to offer a counter to that notion: I suggest you go to school, work hard, and pursue excellence in your life rather than awesomeness. I do however agree that we will have to re-invent ourselves, that’s just the American imperative, pensions are very much dieing and companies that offer them are dropping out of that business as well, regardless…

    Awesomeness sounds a little too generic and more like a personal epiphany and outburst term for Mr. Acuff who is probably making a decent living telling people that they should give up the monotony and toil that comes with living less than housewives of Orange County life-styles. Yes and no so says I. School should be hard work as I don’t like lazy doctors, engineers, teachers, or even cab drivers for that matter. I like people who work hard and have something to show for it, namely, pride in their efforts. I would urge caution to anyone who thinks there are short cuts to any one state of being such as awesomeness or otherwise, things worth doing take effort and time, that’s just the way it should be.

    Mohandas Ghandi once said, “It may not be important what you do, but it is important that you do it”. I’d venture he was saying do your best irrespective of what is you’re doing, that’s my take and Mohandas was an especially “awesome” person based on what I know of him.

    Fixing a stopped up toilet might not be glamorous but beer or wine or maybe just lemonade after the fact probably tastes pretty good, nothing like a job well done, so since when has the mundane failed to fulfill if done with care and a sense of excellence? I happen to like plumbers and have met a lot of good ones, ones who know their business and enjoy it (and at $90 an hour…).

    Mr. Acuff also dismisses “average” as less than legitimate in terms of personal or even professional goals? I’m not entirely sure by what he means by “average” but I like waitresses – is that average? -who take their job serious and I tip accordingly for that service, the same goes for postman (I mean “post person” Rene). I don’t need an awesome post person, I need a competent professional who takes their job serious. I like post people and got to know quite a few them as my business depended heavily on them and as a result, things went smooth for me.

    I’m sure Mr. Acuff and I are only a few degrees off terms of what we believe but I’m simply less inclined to tell people they should chase “awesome”, I just believe excellence in ones actions is good enough,
    maybe I’m just being average?

    I’m sure Mr. Acuff and I probably agree on more points than disagree, awesome post Rene!

    Eric

    • Eric I think you would agree with Acuff more than you realize. It’s not about being self-centered “look at ME I am AWESOME” it’s about standing out to change the world in awesome ways. Read the book, I actually think you’ll like it.

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