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256 pages
Oct 2006
Broadman & Holman

The 2 Degree Difference

by John Trent

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


The Starting Place for Too Many Purposeful People

Because you're reading these words, I know you're busy, committed, and frustrated. No, I'm not a mind reader. But I do travel across the country extensively. (I've accumulated almost three million frequent-flyer miles on American Airlines alone, all on domestic flights.) In the past decade, as I've dropped in on people in large cities and small towns across America, I have been privileged to meet literally hundreds of men and women who desire, often more than anything, to have a life that really counts. Nationally they're part of the millions of people who personally,in their workplace, family, and spiritual life, want to lie down at night knowing they've spent a full day living a life of purpose and significance. Yet an amazingly high number of these same highly committed, highly caring people actually wake up in the morning feeling incredibly frustrated. They've prayed and planned; they've read books and gone to seminars; they've attended every focus group at work and small-group meeting at their church, faithfully filled out every handout they were given, and still they feel like their life is stuck at the starting line.

Still, after all that effort, too many committed people simply don't seem to be moving forward. In fact, many feel like they're sliding backwards as others their same age or in a similar situation disappear ahead of them, people who seem to know or have something they don't. A verse in the book of Proverbs reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Being heartsick from dashed expectations for change describes the state of many of the people I meet, and it's a key reason for writing this book.

These wonderful, intelligent, dedicated, purpose-focused people I've met have no lack of “want to” when it comes to change. But in their heart of hearts, they know things simply aren't changing right now; and for many people change does need to happen-now.

You'll meet one such person in this book.

In a short time you'll read the story of Brian, who woke up one day and-despite all the planning, all the praying, all the workplace seminars and weekend conferences, all the church services and heartfelt commitments that things would be different-his life didn't seem to move one inch in a truly purposeful direction. The life he always wanted, his best life now, bore no resemblance to the life he really lived. Not really. And as the days turned into months and then pushed on into years, Brian could have been selected as the poster child for what it means to be heartsick.

But here's the good news.

In the short time it will take you to read this story, perhaps on a cross-country plane flight or over a single uninterrupted evening, you'll discover a small, incredibly powerful principle. It's a tool as solid as Scripture, almost universally overlooked in our day, that can help people like Brian-and you-actually take those crucial steps toward real change.

Does that mean all the work people have done in writing down and planning out a life of purpose and significance is somehow misguided or unimportant? Absolutely not! If anything, focusing on getting a clear purpose is incredibly helpful. You should read The Purpose-Driven Life and other recent books like it that provide tremendous encouragement and inspiration. Putting time into planning out a life of purpose is like building a car, part by important part. But after all the labor to piece together what a life of purpose and significance looks like, most people still leave out one small but important item-a tiny ignition switch that is essential to get that car moving!

In this story you'll discover how one man found that small key to change, the same one you'll soon be able to add to your life as well. It's something that can get your life moving, whether you're deeply heartsick or just mildly frustrated. It has been a key for many people, like you, to finally see real movement in their career, their home, their health, and even their heart for God.

In a few pages you'll be introduced to this powerful, scriptural, catalytic tool for change. So whether you're an overwhelmed mom of young kids or teenagers, a time-strapped college student, a businessperson needing to get out of a workplace rut, or even the pastor of a growing congregation wanting to raise the spiritual bar for your entire congregation, it's time to learn about the 2 Degree Difference. It's time to learn how the small marks you make in the margins of your life today can make all the difference in boldly living out a life of purpose and significance both today and tomorrow.

And once you learn this tool, it can become a wonderful gift to share with your frustrated family and friends as well.

John Trent, Ph.D.
President, The Center for StrongFamilies