Don’t ever let THIS happen to your dream.

A few years ago, my wife, @JennyAcuff, hurt her finger. With a power tool. That’s just how we do things.

It was a bad day at the Acuff house.

During months of rehab, her doctor gave her a fairly serious warning.

He told her, “If you don’t do the exercises and the work, your finger will become functionally amputated.”

Functionally amputated means that it would still be there. She would not have physically lost it to the accident. It would not be cut off, but functionally it would be as if it was amputated. A lack of use would create the same consequence as amputation.

That’s a pretty scary thought, but what’s scarier is how many people have dreams that have been functionally amputated.

The halls of our buildings are lined with the functionally amputated.

The musician who no longer sings.

The writer who never wrote.

The blogger who never blogs.

A pile of talents gone unused grows every time someone believes that work must be miserable and that we should live for the weekend.

Don’t let your dream become functionally amputated.

Do the work.

Do the exercises.

Fight dream atrophy every day you are gifted with breath.

It’s not too late.

  • LarryTheDeuce
    Posted at 05:10h, 05 December Reply

    Do the work would be a great title for a book.

  • David Mike
    Posted at 07:07h, 05 December Reply

    Rally cry, “Fight dream atrophy!”

  • David Johnston
    Posted at 07:48h, 05 December Reply

    Last weekend I decided to take a long Thanksgiving break from my photography, blogging, and studying. To put it simply I felt dead. I felt average again. I couldn’t take it. I refuse to live like that. It was a great encouragement to keep working and plugging away.

    • LadyTam
      Posted at 08:06h, 05 December Reply

      Heh. Can totally relate!!

      Taking a break isn’t a wholly bad thing, though; taking a few days during a national holiday to just relax the brain can actually help your passion.

      For me, it’s in those breaks that I start figuring out pieces of the puzzle…usually when I’m doing chores or driving somewhere. Then again, I think I’m one of those people who just HAS to take things like that slowly. I *can* force myself to go faster, but I don’t like to.

  • LadyTam
    Posted at 08:03h, 05 December Reply

    I waver between moments of “THIS IS THE MOST BRILLIANT THING I’VE EVER WRITTEN!” and “I CAN’T BELIEVE I ACTUALLY THOUGHT THIS WAS GOOD!” when it comes to my writing. Last night, I was reading a story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2011 on my Kindle, trying to figure out where edits are needed and how to rewrite it. And, I realized something: It’s definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever read (or written), but it also needs work. Which I’ve been trying to do for two years. (I’m reeeeaaally slow when it comes to these things.) So my thing isn’t so much giving up on my dream of publishing (which I couldn’t do anyways, because writing is one of my primary outlets) as much as it is me trying to stabilize myself between two extremes. XD

    Far as a viable, creative career goes, I’m going to take this graphic design thing as far as I can and see what happens. 🙂 Maybe go into book cover design! (Big surprise, I know! lol)

    • David Helms
      Posted at 16:30h, 06 December Reply

      I waver between those two thoughts every single time I sit down to write. Sometimes sentence to sentence. I think that’s common among writers. You are not alone.

  • Mike Koehler
    Posted at 09:25h, 05 December Reply

    This is so true, especially in writing. Writing is a muscle that needs to be worked in order to thrive and improve. The old saying is the best practice for writing is to write. And write. And write. Once I kickstarted my new blog and gave myself the test of writing 5 to 10 times a week, I found that I fell back into a wonderful flow. Just like David said, without it, I felt dead.
    Now I feel as alive as I have with any project I have done in a while.

  • Zechariah
    Posted at 10:01h, 05 December Reply

    Great post Jon. Fighting is the key. We need to be intentional just like Jenny had to be with the finger exercises. The very thing we should be doing at moments is the last thing we want to do. Do it anyway!

  • Holly
    Posted at 10:47h, 05 December Reply

    Good grief! Exactly what I needed to hear today.

    Had been consistently blogging since July, but after a hospitalization, a surgery and a holiday I thought maybe now would be a gracious time to slip out the “back door”.

    Instead, I posted a blog today. Here’s to working that finger or fingers as the case may be.

    Thanks, Jon!

  • Jennifer Kaufman
    Posted at 11:41h, 05 December Reply

    I dislike this, in much the same way that I disliked reading Start.

    Thanks, Jon, for the kick in the pants that I need.

  • Nick
    Posted at 12:38h, 05 December Reply

    Oh my! I hope she’s doing ok. Wow. I’ll do the work! Please don’t send power tools.

    In my house I walk around “fixing” stuff and my wife follows quietly behind me with “magic wood,” putty and paint…. You can see the fear in her eyes every time I say “how hard can it be.” She gives a supportive smile and then immediately gathers the putty…

    I’m getting better though. No injuries yet at least. Poor Jenny!

  • Stephen
    Posted at 12:53h, 05 December Reply

    I’m reading quitter ad it’s really great and helpful… Thank you Jon for all you do

    • Jason Vesely
      Posted at 04:46h, 06 December Reply

      Stuff like this and “Quitter” helps motivate me. Thank you, Acuff

  • Jesse
    Posted at 12:54h, 05 December Reply

    Thanks Jon. I needed to hear this today as I’m just coming out of dream atrophy.

  • Jesse
    Posted at 12:56h, 05 December Reply

    Thanks Jon. I needed to hear this today as I’m just coming out of dream atrophy.

  • chris michael
    Posted at 12:57h, 05 December Reply

    With your help and the book Quitter I wrote the my novel and published it. Thank You

  • Ronnie Barnes
    Posted at 13:03h, 05 December Reply

    i just got dream-juked by Jon Acuff. #dreamjuked

  • Brandon Dorman
    Posted at 13:41h, 05 December Reply

    Thanks, this helped remind me I actually work at my dream job already (teaching). Just perhaps want to change some things about it.

  • Cody
    Posted at 14:17h, 05 December Reply

    This is a good thing for me to hear. I’ve definitely had a dream functionally amputated and it really left me wondering who I even am anymore. It’s probably been good to distance my identity from the dream, but now I think it’s time to reattached my functionally disembodied dream 🙂

  • Brian
    Posted at 14:49h, 05 December Reply

    I have been reading your blog for only a short while and found this very inspiring. Short story, I haven’t had time to do any dreaming in a very long time, and have started recently and it gives you drive and lifts you up. Your blog makes people think, and that is never bad.

  • Pablo
    Posted at 05:53h, 06 December Reply

    Jon, how do we know when to go ahead and amputate certain dreams so we can focus on a different one? Can’t keep all ideas alive.

  • Lolly
    Posted at 19:34h, 07 December Reply

    “Fight dream atrophy every day you are gifted with breath.”


  • David Hooper
    Posted at 21:34h, 07 December Reply

    This is a great post. What’s the point in being able to sing if you’re not going to use it? Am going to share this with my musician friends…

    Use your gifts, people!

  • Shante Kiefer
    Posted at 18:49h, 08 December Reply

    “Dream atrophy” What a phrase! It really drives the point home.

  • joan edwards
    Posted at 01:30h, 11 December Reply

    wonderful…just what we needed this year for Christmas..thank your company for for its inovative spirit…it is what the United States of America needs…I am 74 years old and I believe in Santa Clause and I believe in your company…

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