Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are Paperback – Mar 16 2010
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About the Author
Alex and Brett Harris are the coauthors of the best-selling book Do Hard Things, which they wrote when they were eighteen. Today, the twins speak regularly to audiences of thousands on The Rebelution Tour; maintain a large online community through their blog, TheRebelution.com; and have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times. Raised in Portland, Oregon, the brothers currently attend Patrick Henry College in Virginia.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
YOU ARE HERE
Opening the door to your own rebelution
Simple ideas and unbelievable dreams. First steps and great miracles. Ordinary teenagers and a God who still uses young people to accomplish His big plans.
That’s what our first book, Do Hard Things, is all about. Do Hard Things shows how young people can take hold of a more exciting option for their teen years than what society suggests. We wrote the book to counter the Myth of Adolescence, which says the teen years are a time to goof off and have fun before “real life” starts. We invited our peers to choose to do hard things for the glory of God and, in the process, turn the world’s idea of what teens are capable of upside down.
We were nineteen when we wrote Do Hard Things, twin brothers who wanted to follow God’s call and challenge our generation. We’re twenty-one now and sophomores in college. We still dream big dreams, still want to follow God completely, and still believe just as strongly that God wants to use our generation to change the world. (And, as you might have guessed, we’re still twin brothers.)
Whether or not you’ve read Do Hard Things (we’d recommend it—but, of course, we’re a little biased), this companion book continues the Do Hard Things message and piles on stories, practical suggestions, and detailed how-tos. You can use it either on your own or in a group setting, depending on your situation.
In other words, Do Hard Things marked the beginning of a movement. Start Here is your personal field guide to jumping in and getting involved.
The Rebelution Movement
The concept of doing hard things actually started as a blog we created when we were sixteen. We called it The Rebelution—a combination of rebellion and revolution to create a whole new word with a whole new meaning. We defined rebelution as “ateenage rebellion against low expectations.” (By the way, the blog still exists. Check it out at TheRebelution.com.)
Since Do Hard Things came out, the Rebelution movement has exploded. In the past year, rebelutionary teens have raised tens of thousands of dollars to bring the gospel to and dig wells in Africa, won prestigious film festivals, fought human trafficking in the United States and around the world, and made it on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. Around the world, young people are moving out of their comfort zones—whether that means standing for Christ in a hostile classroom, raising money to build a dormitory for orphans in China, or mending relationships with parents or younger siblings.
Maybe you’re part of the Rebelution already, or maybe you just want to find out more. Maybe you’re asking one of the questions we get most frequently from readers: “Where do I start?”
This book is about taking the next step. It includes ideas from us and dozens of other young people on topics like:
• how to stand up for what you believe
• strategies for overcoming stage fright, fund-raising fright,
and phone-calling fright (hint: it gets easier as you go!)
• ways to get going when you feel stuck and keep going
when you feel discouraged
• how to understand God’s will and glorify Him through
• God-honoring ways to think, feel, and act after you’ve
completed a big project
In short, this is a handbook full of practical steps and real-life stories to encourage and equip you on your journey of doing hard things. We want you to feel as if you’re at one of our conferences, or in a small group of people talking about doing hard things—which you may be!
All the questions in the pages that follow come from people just like you, collected on our website and through personal conversations. We’ll do our best to answer them with stories and insights from our own lives. We’re traveling alongside you in this adventure—and we want to share with you what God has been teaching us these past few years.
But just like Do Hard Things, this book isn’t about us. It’s about the incredible, seemingly impossible things God is doing in our generation. That’s why in Start Here you’ll find dozens of true stories from rebelutionaries who are making a difference in their homes, at their schools, and around the world. We love sharing other young people’s stories because they challenge us as well—and remind us that we’re not alone. We also love the way real-life stories provide a glimpse of the diverse ways God wants to use each of us to do hard things for Him.
Toward the end of the book, we’ll be sharing the stories of two rebelutionaries in particular: Ana Zimmerman and John Moore. As you’ll see, Ana and John took on very different hard things, each with the purpose of glorifying God and helping others.
At the age of fifteen, Ana raised more than six thousand dollars and organized an event called Love the Least in her hometown. The event introduced her community to the work of Abort73, an organization that exists to show the injustice of abortion.
With a group of fellow teens, John Moore wrote, produced, and directed his own feature film at the age of nineteen—and went on to win the $101,000 grand prize at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
John and Ana faced many of the same hurdles and questions you’re encountering. Their stories provide an in-depth look at the beginning, middle, and end of the “do hard things” process. We think you’ll be encouraged and inspired.
Pursuing Faithfulness, Not Success
As thousands of young people around the world are discovering, doing hard things is the most satisfying, thrilling way to live some of the best years of our lives.
So where do you start? As you’ll find in the pages that follow, the answer is: right where you are. Being a rebelutionary means committing to doing even ordinary things extraordinarily well. As each of us is faithful in that, God will be faithful to prepare us
for whatever calling He has for us.
For some of us, that calling will be big in the world’s eyes, and for some of us it will be small. Whether it is big or small, God will be glorified—and the world will be changed by a generation that gives up seeking worldly success to pursue a life of faithfulness.
That’s when the ordinary becomes extraordinary. And that’s what this book is about.
Ready to start?
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Top Customer Reviews
From what I can see, this is the companion book of Do Hard Things as the Harris brothers take the time to answer a variety of questions that teenagers might have after reading their previous book.
Mind you the questions can easily be applied to adults as well. I know that it speaks to me. It made me realize that recognition is not necessary and that doing hard things might not be BIG things but little things every day.
My hard thing to do these days is to follow where God will lead us as a family. We don't know where we will be or what we will do in the future. It is as thought there is a big cloud over our life and we can't see beyond our feet. So we have to trust God and follow His light at our feet. And sometimes it's hard to do.
Actually the chapter that spoke the most to me is When The Doing Gets Tough - Keeping on in the middle of hard things. We are currently experiencing the door being close on us on something we felt that God asked us to do. Actually, for me this is the first time as for my husband it is the 2nd time in the matter of 15 years or so. But reading that chapter gave me hope. The following paragraph particularly hit the spot for me.
Just because a giant obstacle stands in your path, that doesn't mean the door has closed. Just because your plans fell through doesn't mean your hard thing has failed.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Building on Do Hard Things and their highly popular blog [...], the twins have just released their companion book Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are. It is meant to help young people move from inspiration to action through concrete steps as well as stories and testimonials from real-life teens who have "done hard things" and seen their own lives blessed as they have blessed others.
It intrigued me that, even though the book was written for a much (much) younger audience than myself, I found myself nodding, underlining, and rereading passages as I discovered both advice and insight that directly relates to my own life, right here and right now. For example, the first part of the book concentrates on figuring out where you should start in doing "hard things." This chapter, I feel, was packed full of wisdom. One pearl that I think is often overlooked is that doing something "big" for God doesn't have to be "big" according to society's standards. They say:"Doing hard things doesn't mean being preoccupied with something bigger, different, and more exciting all the time. It means being ready and willing to obey, not matter how big, small, or hard it might be." They go on to say, "If we say we want to do hard things for God, but we're not pursuing excellence where He has placed us (at home, at school, and at work), it's likely that we're really more interested in getting glory for ourselves than in getting glory for Him."
Wow, how true is that?
The other chapter that really made an impact on me was Chapter 4: Side Effects May Occur. Here they offer frank and practical advice on how to handle the changes that come when you choose to do hard things. As a writer (although not nearly as accomplished as these boys), I often struggle with how to handle affirmations I do receive. I want to think I'm a humble person, but when someone says they love something I've written, I have to admit that it makes me feel really, really good. So what do you do with that? Alex and Brett have a great answer, with some help from the words of a brave, amazing woman: "Like every gift from God, affirmation is something we can recognize and enjoy as long as we remember its source. Holocaust survivor and author Corrie ten Boom is quoted as saying, "When people come up and give me a compliment--'Corrie, that was a good talk,' or `Corrie, you were so brave,' I take each remark as if it were a flower. At the end of each day I lift up the bouquet of flowers I have gathered throughout the day and say, `Here you are, Lord, it is all yours.' "
Among the other topics this solid little book tackles are:
* How to create a plan for your idea or project
* How to raise money
* How to manage your time
* How to keep doing hard things from actually distracting you from God
* How to keep going when the going gets tough
* How to move against the crowd--and why
* How to keep from falling back into your old ways
The book concludes with a list of 100 "hard things" teens have done that were submitted to [...], which is an incredible resource to get kids thinking about what options they have for doing something good for others (and for God). There are also discussion questions that could be used with a small group or book club.
Although a relatively small book, all 137 pages of Start Here were written with purpose and intention, delivering an abundance of inspiration and practical guidance on how to shatter the "Myth of Adolescence" by moving from complacency to action for God. I highly recommend this not only to teens or those who work with young people, but to "post-adolescents" (like me) as well. The wisdom these brothers share in this book is ageless as well as timeless.
It is exceptional that these two brothers have not only become best selling authors, but also speakers through their Rebelution tours, which serve to set out the high expectation cry for teens and their parents and ministry leaders everywhere. As I wrote that sentence I had to fight to not show my bias proving that I too have low expectations for teens and am therefor part of the problem. Why shouldn't teens be authors and speakers? Is it really more beneficial for a teen to read a book written by older people? (The same people that admit that they don't understand teens?) Is it odd that teens who have a message should share that message with other teens? Women's ministers are generally women, right? Married Couple counselors are generally married successfully. Low expectations for teens abound.
As such, I cannot recommend this book (and their previous book) more highly. The church must find a way to break the cycle of low expectations - ministers and parents and teens. The book is easy to read, full of interesting stories and more importantly, full of information on how to do hard things. This book is the first step to a life of significance.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
The movement exploded with their first book "Do Hard Things". Teenagers and adults alike were challenged to move out of their comfort zones and refocus their lives on doing "hard things" that glorify God and help others. I have not had the pleasure of reading their first book but testimonials lend proof that it has been life-changing for many.
The Harris brothers are now back, at the age of 21, with a follow up manual "Start Here." They begin by explaining that being a "rebelutionary" means "committing to doing even ordinary things extraordinarily well." They state that by being faithful to the ordinary, God prepares us for the extraordinary. I couldn't agree with them more.
One of the things that I loved about this book is that they begin by examining the very important question of why we should do the hard things. By answering the question of "why" before "where" or "what" the reader is given an opportunity to see things through the lens of Scripture. This results in doing "hard things" not just for the sake of doing them but in direct obedience to God.
The authors' spiritual perspective sets the tone for the entire book. "When we think or talk about doing hard things, it's easy to think only about the big stuff. If we assume that being a "rebelutionary" means fighting slavery, digging wells in Africa, running a political campaign, or writing a book, then it is hard to know where to begin. But if our goal is to glorify God--to point other people to Him and show more of what He can do then our first priority is to be faithful with what He's already given us to do, not embark on a big new adventure."
The book goes on to share many personal accounts from young people that prove the authors' point. Some helped a stranger or family member, or befriended the lonely or oppressed, others collected items like shoes or clothing because they saw the plight of another person. All found that as they obeyed God in the small things that His bigger purpose unfolded and glorified Him in ways they had never dreamed.
I find it encouraging and exhilarating to know that there are a growing number of youth rising up with the sole purpose of glorifying God by being faithful with what they've already been given. They are also challenging others to do the same by providing practical ways of living a life that is abandoned to God's purpose.
Our society repeatedly sends the message that success and satisfaction are measured in terms of obtaining more and engaging in selfish activities. The Harris brothers have wisely empowered their readers with the greater truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive and that obedience to small but hard things can reap great spiritual rewards that transform lives and glorify God.
I can't recommend "Start Here" highly enough. It seems that the best place to start would be reading "Do The Hard Things." Both of these books have been written by teens for teens but contain biblical truths that readers of any age need to hear.
Get the book and get started right where you are.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Have always felt that way but the authors have finally verbalized in a way that makes sense to the youth.
I planned to read and review Start Here with teenagers in mind. After all, that's who it's for. But teenagers aren't the only ones who need motivation to do hard things. Adults can have low expectations, too. We, too, can be insecure. And we can certainly be complacent-maybe more so than teenagers. So, while the book is aimed at teens and young adults, we not so young adults can learn plenty from these youngsters.
There are several things that I like about this book. The first is the emphasis on humility. Had I written a best-seller when I was nineteen, I would have exploded with pride. But not the Harris brothers. Though their first book was a best-seller, though they travel the world speaking to thousands of teenagers, and though they are adored by youth groups and youth leaders everywhere, they remain humble. Yet they admit that it is a struggle. Again and again throughout the book reader is warned of the dangers of pride:
"Pride is such a common temptation that it's a good idea to frequently ask yourself (or ask a mentor to ask you), `Is the way I'm thinking or talking about this hard thing focused on me and my abilities, or is it focused on God--obeying Him and serving others?'....It is possible to dazzle people with the hard things we do and still waste our lives if we're doing those things only to impress others and bring glory to ourselves."
Another point that I appreciate is the emphasis on faithfulness in small things. Doing hard things may not mean raising a million dollars for orphans in Nigeria. It may mean throwing away CD's, books, or clothes that are not pleasing to God. It may mean sitting alone at lunch rather than sitting with bad influences. It may mean befriending the boy who isn't "cool." Or it may just mean obeying parents.
"Nothing we do for God is insignificant. When we have this as our mind-set, then we won't get proud if God allows us to do something big and we won't get discouraged if we feel stuck in the small things....The goal is obedience to God, effectiveness in whatever He gives us to do, and a heart that glorifies Him....You may not always be organizing some gigantic project, but you are always looking for ways to serve God and others in small, everyday ways."
There are many more good things that I could mention about the book, but I'll mention just one more. Everything we do, the authors remind us, should stem from one goal--the glory of God:
"Keep in mind that the choice is never between doing hard things and our relationship with God, because God is the One who commands us to do hard things! Instead, we serve and obey God by doing hard things--with Christ as the center, His glory our goal, and holding every hard thing we do with open hands."
Buy this book for the teenagers in your life. While you're at it, get a copy for yourself. If it doesn't inspire you, it will at least restore your faith in tomorrow's leaders.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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