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The Secret Word That Changes the World

By Jon Acuff

“I usually hate books like this, but I actually loved Quitter!”

This is my favorite feedback to receive about my book, because I feel the same way.

I usually hate books like this.

Books that talk about personal growth and chasing your dream and changing the world. Why don’t I like them? Because a lot of them are based on theory, not reality. There’s a whole lot of “what if,” but very little “what is.” They’re fluffy and dreamy and full of unicorn sunshine moments, but very few grind it out when no one is watching and you wish success was coming quicker.

And after reading dozens of them, I kind of got jaded.

I started to wonder if you could really change the world. I started to wonder if you could really change your own life and the lives of other people, or was it just hype pitched by people with vibrant skin and attractive teeth?

In six hours, I’ll leave to see the answer to my question for the first time. How? By jumping on a plane to Vietnam.

Today at noon, my wife and I will fly from Nashville, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia. We’ll then fly across the planet to Seoul, Korea, and from there we’ll land in Hanoi, Vietnam. We’ll get off the plane and onto an overnight train to the highlands area of North Vietnam. And in two different villages we’ll see the answer to the question, “Can you really change the world?”

In those two villages, we’ll see two kindergartens built by the readers of my blog,

In 2009, on a random Monday in November, I dared my readers to change the world with me. I asked them to help me raise $30,000 to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. I embarked on that adventure because my five-year-old daughter saw a photo of a starving child in a book and said, “That’s pretend, right? That’s not real, right?” And when she said that, I heard her saying, “You’re not okay with that, are you Dad? Do other people know there are kids starving? Are you doing anything to change the world, Dad?” I wasn’t at the time, and I decided I needed to. That’s when I found the secret word that can change the world. Want to know what it is?


That’s it. If you’re going to change the world, all you have to do is try. Fear will tell you it’s more complicated than that. Doubt will tell you it’s not that easy. Worry will tell you that you’re not qualified. But they’re all wrong.

All you have to do is try.

And do you know what happened when I did? When I asked strangers on a niche blog two years ago to help me raise $30,000 for a kindergarten in a village that 99% of them would never visit?

We raised the entire $30,000 in 18 hours.

In less than a day, the whole project was funded.

Because we tried.

And once you try one time, it’s easier to try again. So we did. And raised another $30,000 to build a second kindergarten.

That’s why when I talk about changing the world in Quitter, I’m not talking about theory. I’m talking about reality. About tangible, real ways that God can change the planet with the things you try. That’s why I wrote Quitter and why I encourage people to buy it. Because what I wrote is not fluffy dream speak—it’s the steps, tips and tools I learned to change the world.

But whether or not you ever get Quitter, what’s most important, the thing I hope you walk away with, is that single word.


You have to.

We need you to.

The world is waiting for you to.


Jon Acuff is the founder of and the author of the book Stuff Christians Like. His insight into everything from church, to advertising, to money, to life is as funny as it is true. In the last 12 years, he’s written branding for companies such as The Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Staples, Bose and many others. He’s a contributor to , speaks nationally on the subject of social media, and joined the Dave Ramsey team in 2010. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.