Start - Jon Acuff

Start - Jon Acuff

Find out here how to grab your dream and start immediately on the path to excellence.

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Do you have the impression that your childhood dreams are getting farther away? And that your life is on autopilot? It is very common to be afraid of taking risks and working with something that does not interest us, we end up becoming average professionals.

Know that the path to success is divided into five well-defined stages, according to Jon Acuff, and that they will change the way you live your work and your life.

Curious to know what the stages are? Stay with us!

About the book "Start"

The book was originally published in English by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The bestseller talks about how to get out of an average life into a more challenging path. The author proposes to "punch you in the face of fear" and work on something you enjoy.

The work gives practical and effective instructions to definitely achieve your personal and professional satisfaction.

About the author Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff is an American, author of several bestsellers for The New York Times. As a speaker he has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people in colleges, conferences, and companies such as Nissan, Nokia, and FedEx.

It was after going through eight different jobs in eight years, hoping that the next one would always be different, that Jon joined Dave Ramsey 's team in 2010, America's greatest motivational speaker, and became a writer full-time.

To whom is this book indicated?

This book is for you who, no matter what stage of life you are in, is looking for the ultimate personal and professional satisfaction.

Main ideas of the book "Start"

  • The five stages that lead to greatness;
  • The purpose does not work like a clock;
  • Our willpower is finite;
  • There is a first question to ask to define what to focus on;
  • Experience before putting your project into play is critical;
  • The fear of success is scarier than the fear of failure;
  • Guidance comes naturally.

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[Book Summary] Start - Jon Acuff

Overview: The Five Stages That Lead to Greatness

Jon begins the book by telling the story of an American named Steve, who, on his trip through Asia, was impressed by the level of detail on the taxi map in which he found himself.

Commenting to the taxi driver about how amazed he was with the map, the Vietnamese driver replied,

"At the end, not even the best map in the world helps if you don't know where you are."

The author then makes an analogy with our lives. Just as Google Maps won't give you the coordinates of a destination if you don't enter your point of origin, we won't discover the direction of our lives if we don't ask ourselves, "Where am I?"

We constantly find ourselves, day after day, performing tasks faster, always moving on. However, where are we really coming from?

This kind of question, we often do only at the end of our lives, when we finally stop long enough to reexamine our decisions.

Thus, the author lists the five stages of the road that leads to greatness:

  1. Learning (20 years): You entered college and searched for a job, tried several things and ventured;
  2. Focus (30 years): You have prioritized your passions, eliminated the habits that failed at twenty and focused more on the things you love and less on those you hate;
  3. Domain (40 years old): You are no longer that rising young person at work to start leading larger projects and initiatives. It has been tested and approved;
  4. Harvest (50 years old): You reap what you sow, it was the time you made the most money;
  5. Orientation (60 years): You have retired and become the keeper of wisdom. You have generously returned to people who are going the same way you have walked.

Overview: The beginning

In a chapter reserved exclusively for the first step, Jon Acuff reports that it is impossible to know in advance where the finish line will be, that is, the final result.

He attributes this difficulty to the fact that the path changes several times throughout the journey.

At this stage, what really matters is that you are brave and prepared enough when the opportunity presents itself. So be "deliberate, intentional and focused".

Greatness, according to Jon Acuff, is a bit dangerous, because you are not sure what the next step will be until you start.

The average is predictable, but that's where the vast majority of people tend to opt for a decision because it's comfortable. This is where we have control of the "road" and feel safe.


For Jon, when we talk about "finding our purpose," we imagine that this will work like a clock. It is because we believe in some "lies":

  • "Everyone but you knows your goals";
  • "You will have only one goal";
  • "You should have discovered your goals at age 22";
  • "A purpose changes everything instantly";
  • "You must know the finish line before you start".

For the author, we must live with purpose and not search for one.

Overview: Learning

If you find yourself too busy to be awesome right now, be it for a new job or a project at work that makes you unable to work for yourself, Jon Acuff gives a hint:

"Be selfish at 5 am"

The author says that it is in the early hours of the day that you can disconnect from household, spouse or parent duties to focus on your personal projects.

In addition, the author explains why in the morning people tend to be better than in the evening. Our willpower is finite and we have a limited stock of it.

After an exhausting day of work, having to make tough decisions, our "tank is empty" and we ended up not doing what our initial proposal was. Already in the morning, we are full of willpower and willing to do our best for our projects.

Then the book "Start" presents five steps to get it done:

  1. Admit that it is not possible to do everything;
  2. Give yourself credit for accepting this as reality, not failure;
  3. Give your full attention to the things you can do;
  4. Celebrate what happens in Step 3 instead of becoming obsessed with what you can't do;
  5. Repeat as necessary.

Overview: Focus

"Focus is the phase of your journey when Michelangelo stops in front of the meticulously chosen marble block. From an entire quarry, this was the one selected. And now, with a chisel and a hammer, he will take away the non-David parts that will finally be revealed."

The author defines the focus phase as the moment when you will select from among all the previous phase learnings which ones serve and which can be missed.

We often do this through questions such as:

  • What will give money?;
  • What jobs are available in the market right now?;
  • What industry is growing?;
  • What do I have the most experience with?

These are undoubtedly good questions to ask. However, the author does not consider them the right questions to ask immediately, as they do not reveal their greatness.

According to Jon:

"There are millions of things that will give you money but will make you miserable."

The first question to ask should be:

He cites, as real examples: a person who holds a degree as a merchant seaman, but who discovered his happiness as a lawyer, or a shepherd who, after 30 years of profession, went to find his greatness as a beekeeper.

Overview: Domain

After defining your focus, we enter the domain phase. This is where we will improve so that we can really master it. It doesn't work having the passion, desire and hopes to be something if we cannot masterfully perform.

The author argues that you gain experience through volunteering, part-time employment or driving.

Volunteering, for Jon Acuff, is a way to accelerate your dreams. It teaches lessons that will be extremely valuable when you are starting your own business, that is when your future is not at stake.

The same reasoning can be done for part-time jobs. Spending a few months learning all the secrets of business through hard work is recommended.

"If you want to open a coffee shop but have never worked at one in your life, you need to work at a Starbucks first."

Finally, it's suggested that you let yourself be led, instructed and keep learning. Working with people who came before you and who you think is wise is one of the best ways to acquire mastery.

To be able to say, "I don't know how best to do that. Can you teach me?" Is something endangered and can be of great value in the domain.

Overview: Harvest

Despite all the positive aspects of success, the book "Start" says that many people are afraid when this step arrives.

The fear of failure is, though much analyzed and discussed, overrated. For Jon Acuff, the scariest fear is the fear of success. It may even seem a little strange to be afraid of success if that's why we spend our whole lives struggling every year.

The fear of success sometimes happens because when one area of our lives becomes incredible, it gives us the strength to deal with one area we fear, and that makes us look for any distraction to get away from what we don't want to deal with.

Perhaps by destroying our own success, we will have something to focus on to prevent us from looking at what hurts us.

Overview: Orientation

When you discover something that you have a passion for doing, it is inevitable that you start helping others find what they love to do as well.

"If the saying 'People hurt, hurt' is true - and I believe it is - then the opposite is also true: 'People helped help'."

You may not be a teacher, but as you cross from Harvest to Orientation, the question "How do I help other people to do this?" Will make a bang in your ears.

According to the author, Orientation is not so dramatic and tends to come naturally. Although you may not realize it, you are guiding someone from your first step on the road to greatness, because you need to be one step ahead of someone to guide.

Finally, the author cites three myths of the Orientation:

  1. You should not guide until you feel ready;
  2. You should only share your successes;
  3. Everyone should guide in exactly the same way.

What do other authors say about it?

In "Life-Changing Secrets" there are several lessons about success, which is linked, according to the work, to a personal plan that must be executed using the powers of the human subconscious.

Speaking of change, in the book, "Factfulness", the authors, Hans, Ola, and Anna Rosling, say that today we have an instinct to believe that things don't change anymore, and that keeps us from seeing many advances that are happening.

Finally, in "Principles: Life and Work" Ray Dalio will show you what dream, reality and determination will make you achieve a successful life by having the principles of life and work go together with an open mind. For this, Ray will make you understand how your mistakes have contributed to your growth because it is this evolution that will lead you to victory.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Always ask yourself, "Where am I?";
  • Live with purpose;
  • Be selfish at 5 am;
  • Set your focus;
  • Gain experience through volunteering, part-time employment or driving;
  • Do not be afraid of success;
  • Always help others.

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Book 'Start'