Brendon Burchard (source of image)
What makes us truly alive in whatever we do? How can we lead lives brimming with energy, engagement and enthusiasm?
Enter The Charge. Subtitled “Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive”, this easily read tome provides lots of fodder for anybody seeking to achieve more with life.
Written by leading motivation and peak performance expert Brendon Burchard, The Charge inspires and instructs us in ways to lead a more successful and fulfilling life. One where we are not just passive passengers drifting along but active drivers shaping our destinies.
What are the lessons that we can learn to maximise the way we lead our lives?
According to Brendon, there are three kinds of lives:
1) Caged: Trapped either in the past or the expectations of others, those who live caged lives feel tethered to where they are, and are imprisoned in their fear of a scary world.
2) Comfortable: Folks in this category are stuck in a rut though they may be comfortable. Seeing the world as stale, they feel limited by their own success and are happy but uninspired.
3) Charged: Life is magical and meaningful to those leading charged lives. Engaged in the present, they are open and observant, future oriented, challenge seeking, authentic in connecting with others, self-reliant, creative, and meaning makers.
To live a charged life, the book brings us through 10 human drives that influence how we think, feel, and act.
They comprise five “baseline” human drives, ie Control, Competence, Congruence, Caring, and Connection, and five “forward” human drives – Change, Challenge, Creative Expression, Contribution and Consciousness.
Each drive come with “activators” teaching us how we can better manage them followed by “charge points” which we can use to apply in our lives.
The drive for control can be a two-edged sword. Too much, and we end up being rigid and inflexible. Too little, and life degenerates into tumultuous chaos.
To achieve the right balance, we should purposefully control our outlook and character by engaging in positive activities with affirming friends, adopt optimistic mindsets, and add new things to our lives each day.
We should also control our workflows and not be ruled by our inbox (ie other people’s agendas).
Defined as “our ability to understand, successfully perform in, and master our world”, competence is impaired in team and project based work environments which disallow focus and mastery.
To master this drive, you should assess and direct your desires to learn. Understand what value learning brings – utilitarian, intrinsic, or personal agency? Set real challenges (like a 60 day speed learning challenge), get a coach, and integrate your learning success into your personal identities.
How we think of ourselves and how we behave in accordance to that image constitutes congruence. It is important for us to create a unifying self-image aligned to internal measures of worth.
To do so, you should set new standards through the use of powerful personal words (eg independent, alert, purposeful). Develop positive moods by steering away from negative media and people. Do positive stuff. Keep your word and follow through on commitments.
We should focus on being better caregivers to everyone we meet in life. We should also strive to be better care receivers by attuning to and appreciating the thoughts and gestures of others.
Care for yourself by leading a healthy life. Be willing to be vulnerable so that others can care for you. Finally, be more present, interested and attentive to the needs of others.
Connection is the drive of connecting with other human beings around us. The happiest 10 percent of people on earth have rich, fulfilling social
lives and intimate relationships.
To activate your “relational quotient”, define and design your ideal relationships. Ask yourself what they are, practice positive projection by seeing yourself and others in a “haloed glow”, find and cultivate “growth” friends who care for and brings out the best in you.
The first of the forward drives, change is ingrained in our conscious and continual desire for newness and excitement. Change can be positive or negative, depending on whether we can smoothly navigate the flow of life or be swept away by the turbulent streams of chance.
To master your fate, you need to overcome your fear of change. Get clarity, think big, be bold, and make real choices.
Use the “this-that” set of rules (eg “do more of this, no more of that”, or “always choose this, not that”).
Considered as the most important drive, challenge help us to stretch our self-concept, skills, beliefs and mental or physical capacities.
Unlike goal thinking which is about reaching a destination, challenge thinking inspires thoughts about the journey itself.
Choose fulfilling challenges that are singular in focus. Embrace those which stretch you. Score your performance, feel a sense of completion and share your experiences and results.
You should also focus on the journey, reject rejection and other fears, and set monthly 30-day challenges.
Supported by thinkers like Richard Florida and Daniel Pink as the new wave of work, creative expression sees us manifesting our unique and individual talents, strengths and perspectives.
To harness this drive, find ways to amplify creative expression in all areas of your lives. They could be at home, at work, in relationships, during your leisure leisure, or in other ways of contribution,
Study people and designs around you. Visiting museums and watching art performances are great ways to do so. Challenge yourself to find ways to create more and share with the world.
Each of us have a deep drive to give of ourselves. We want to play a significant part in shaping the world around us.
This is covered by common maxims like “Make a difference. Leave a legacy. Share your gifts and abilities.” and so forth.
To give of yourself, recognise and acknowledge the impact which your activity makes on a grander scale. Pat yourself on the back. When giving to others and broader causes, consider opportunities for creative expression, mentoring others, and the direct social impact of your actions.
Finally, living a charged live entails achieving greater thought and transcendent consciousness.
This experience was well captured by Brendon’s own “near death” experience in a car crash in the Dominican Republic, when he experienced a feeling of centredness and gratitude that God gave him a second chance at life.
To activate this drive, focus your consciousness on your thoughts, deeds, others around you, and your progress. Transcend consciousness by being present, mindful of coincidences and intuition. Be aware of love.
Lastly, you should be conscious of love and live a life of wonder.
Unlike certain other personal motivation books, The Charge doesn’t promise us untold millions or success beyond belief. It isn’t a get rich quick scheme nor an easy peasy way to get what you want in life.
However, it does promise readers a better way forward in navigating the seas of life and becoming the captains of their own destinies. I guess this alone was why the book resonated so much with me.
As a life coach and personal development expert, Brendon shared lots of fascinating real life stories of folks whom he met and help transform through his approach to living a charged life. These tales enliven his theories and bring them to life. He also writes compellingly and has a strong active yet nurturing voice.