Friday, August 01, 2014

How to Be a Quitter and Still Be a Success

I recently came across Jon Acuff's Quitter. Jon Acuff is a New York Times Bestselling author of four books including his most recent, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.  For 16 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and have spoken at conferences, colleges, companies and even churches.  Probably better known as the humorist who wrote Stuff Christians Like, Acuff has a witty and sharp intellect for being able to synthesize complex ideas into a highly engaging and fun read.  In my recent foray into Quitter, I realized that I stumbled across another great read - one that situates the current wave of literature around self-improvement and self-publishing guides.

Fame is a Burden - Don't be a victim of your own success - Many who go from anonymity to overnight success experience pressure to constantly keep up.  The consequences are often an afterthought when one begins the long road from creating something from scratch and watch it grow to prominence.  But the road to fame has its drawbacks, including the loss of privacy, freedom, and ultimately the chance to be able to innovate and freely fail.  Anonymity is a luxury.  Many stars yearn for the opportunity to test new ideas and experiment without consequences.  But here is the paradox: the greater the fame, the less space there is for risk whereas obscurity's greatest trade-off is the ability to try anything and do anything without much repercussions.  Fame does have its drawbacks doesn't it?

Do Not Burn Out - It's easy after a while to forget about the people around you.  The countless hours of hard work that leads to success oftentimes comes at a price - and that is usually those closest around us.  There will inevitably be a trade-off; sadly, success comes at a zero-sum game.  To achieve success in almost anything, one must dedicate time and energy for a craft - yet, this comes at a price.  Family and friends should be foremost, according to Acuff, as they are a support network in life's ecology.  We need to nurture these relationships and not forget about the bigger picture in life.  It's not all about the money.

Give for Free - Just as important to create is the necessity to give back.  Acuff encourages us that we need to share what we create with the world and give back.  Like a karmic cycle, this giving will reward ourselves further into the future.  Many have written about this concept of giving back, including self-help gurus from Robert Kawasaki to billionaires such as Richard Branson.  There's a reason it's a common theme: it works!  So will you do it?   

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