From Average to Awesome with Jon Acuff’s Book “Start”


I first came across Jon Acuff‘s writings years ago on a site called “Stuff Christians Like,” a witty, satirical look at Christian subculture. I followed some of Acuff’s writings and social media posts online. Then I read his book “Quitter,” about closing the gap between a day job and a dream job. Turns out, this fellow can write meaningful ideas in a succinct, poignant way.

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April 2013 saw the release of Jon Acuff’s new book, “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters.” “Start” is all about living with purpose, being awesome at what you’re made to do, and sharing insights to guide you through the five stages of life work.

Flip the Switch from Average to Awesome

Acuff believes every person is geared to do something uniquely “you,” and wants you to reject average so you can be awesome at what you’re meant to do. He takes a cue from a renowned writer and intentional-living mastermind, who says:

“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
– Steven Pressfield

If you want to accomplish something with your life, you’ve got to buckle down and do the work. But do the work with joy, excellence, and conviction. Work at your dream, whatever it is, with passion and purpose.

Here are some of the biggest (and simplest) punch-packing quotes from the book to inspire you to do meaningful work. Most of them are only one line, so they’re easy to quote (and tweet).

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters

  1. Life is now less about how old you are and more about when you decide to live.
  2. You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.
  3. Purpose is a mode of transportation, not a final destination.
  4. Purpose is attracted to motion. Purpose is attracted to momentum.
  5. Rest is not a by-product of my success; it’s a by-product of my humanity. I don’t have to get ahead to enjoy it or need it.
  6. If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?
  7. Everyone who succeeds learns through experimentation.
  8. 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.
  9. Spend more time practicing your dream than you do promoting your dream.
  10. You will work harder at something you love than something you like.
  11. Joy is an incredible alarm clock.
  12. If your goal is to work less, stay on the road to average.
  13. Don’t become a jerk. Don’t get lazy. Don’t get entitled.
  14. Action always beats intention. What you’ve done is always more powerful than what you’re going to do.
  15. Giving support is often the best way to get it.
  16. Excitement isn’t the same thing as arrogance.
  17. Helping other people better their lives is way more fun than obsessing about bettering your own.
  18. The desire to help others is a natural byproduct of being awesome.
  19. Want to guide? Ask one person one question.
  20. You never get to change the world before you change your life.
  21. The only way to stay young is to keep learning.
  22. Social media is either a megaphone or a mask. It will amplify what you’re all about or hide what you’re all about. Be honest and amplify.
  23. Clarity is the way you carve out some space in the cluttered social media world.


What are your favorite parts of Jon Acuff’s book, “Start“? Or, what ideas inspire you to do meaningful work?


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