A quitter is something I have always been afraid of being. I want to be steadfast; I want to be someone who people could count on. If there is ever a time I swear to my own hurt, I want to be the guy who follows through on it anyway. So in light of that, I didn’t originally have much interest in Jon Acuff’s book titled “Quitter: Closing the gap between your day job &your dream job” (Brentwood, TN: Lampo Press, 2011). Who wants to be a quitter?
But alas, my dear wife had heard this book plugged on Dave Ramsey’s show a number of times, and was convinced I needed it. And so on my birthday, I received this book (along with one I had asked for!). This would be one case where I totally misjudged the book based on its cover…er, uh, title. This is a very good, exceptionally readable, practical, and helpful book.
What’s it about?
The first dose of practicality comes in the title of chapter one- “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” You pick up a book about pursuing your dreams, and here the guy tells you to keep your day job. Not what most people are looking to find. But Acuff explains his reasoning on page 21 when he says, “I know it sounds crazy, but people with jobs tend to have more creative freedom than people without.” It does sound crazy, but it makes a lot of sense. This book isn’t about pursuing the fairy tale of the job that will perfectly fulfill you by casting off all the constraints of your 9-5 and spreading your wings. Rather, Acuff goes through a logical process of finding ways to pursue your dream now, “falling in like with a job you don’t love”, applying hustle to your dream, learning to be successful at success, and finally making your dream job your day job. True to his usual form, Acuff uses much humor and personal anecdote in his writing; this is far from an academic work. It’s more of a “hey guys, here’s some common sense and my experience, hopefully it helps” kind of book. And it contains some gems, not only for people looking to pursue a dream, but also for those of us content with where we are for now.
Quotes and thoughts
“At some point we stopped being stayers and formed a long line of leavers. We started seeing motion as a sign of success and transition as a sign of progress…People position adulthood like it’s the end of your life, not the beginning.” (pg 5)
We live in a society that worships freedom, which is really just code for childishness and running away from responsibility. We act like being a grown up with a job and responsibilities is the same thing as nailing the coffin shut.
“The simplest and safest way to keep your no’s is to keep your day job.” (pg 16)
What he means by keeping your no’s is that you aren’t at the mercy of your dream taking off right now if you have a day job. If you’re providing a service and have a job, you have the ability to say no to those who don’t want to pay your price. If you’re relying on that money to make rent, you don’t have the same freedom.
“We have to murder perfectionism…90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.” (pg 62)
What stops so many of us from sharing our thoughts, ideas, visions, dreams? The desire not to mess up. Fear of not being perfect. Get over it. Work on it, get it clear enough to be comprehensible, and get it out there. “You can’t catch perfect…You can catch finished and shared.” (pg 63)
“You might be too bored to work on your dream, but just don’t buy into the lie that you are too busy.” (pg 74)
Of all of our excuses, busyness probably ranks on top. And most of it is just that, an excuse. We fill our time with stuff, but most of it is pretty unimportant. You could get lot of dream done in the time it takes to check Facebook or watch a movie. “Do more of the things you love and less of the things you like.” (pg 150)
“If you wait until night to work on your dream, you will often spend the whole day gathering up material for excuses on why you shouldn’t do what it is you feel called to do.” (pg 145)
I tried to deny this for a long time. “I’m a night owl” I’d tell myself. That worked great when I was a single guy with one part time job. Not so much now that I’m married working one and sometimes two jobs with a baby girl. Get up early and fight through the tiredness, or forget about getting anything done.
There were other good things to be had. My only complaint was that the chapters were entirely too long. However, they were broken into plenty of sub-sections, so it was still manageable. Either way, it’s a fairly quick read, and well worth your time. You might just end up being a quitter.