New York Times bestselling author Brendon Burchard should know a thing or two about motivation.
Touted as a leading personal development expert, Brendon has a huge following on social media. His previous books such as The Charge (see my book review here) literally flew off the shelves.
Centred on nine “declarations of personal power”, Brendon’s latest offering The Motivation Manifesto isn’t a step-by-step guide to wealth, power and fame. Instead, it is about how we can gain greater personal freedom so that we can lead motivated and meaningful lives, unencumbered by fear and oppression.
On Freedom, Fear and Motivation
The first section of the book defines three key attributes of human nature: personal freedom, fear, and motivation. It urges readers to gain liberty from the chains of social oppressions and fear, so that we can have a “heightened sense of genuineness and joy in our being”. By achieving personal freedom, we can live freely and spontaneously, pursue abundance in health, wealth and happiness, love freely, and serve our desired life mission.
To achieve personal growth, we ought to recognise how fear has socially conditioned us, and to be wary of fear mongers. By choosing to live courageously, we can defeat the fear propagated by “worriers, weaklings and the wicked”.
Beyond overcoming fear, the book also teaches us how we can spark, sustain and amplify motivation. This involves making and committing to clear choices, contemplating and focusing our minds on the end goal, and surrounding ourselves with the right people and environment.
The 9 Declarations of Power
How then do we attain personal freedom? The Motivation Manifesto describes nine personal declarations which we can practice.
1) We Shall Meet Life with Full Presence and Power
To experience life in all its glory and power, we need to bring our full consciousness to the present. This requires us to release the past (both hurts and joys), forget about the future, and face the reality of the moment full-on. Here, we are told to play four key roles:
- Observer: Be able to hover above our lives through greater self-awareness and consciousness;
- Director: Be proactive in intentionally creating and shaping our lives;
- Guardian: Protect our mind, body and soul from “unwanted contaminants” like negative information, people and habits;
- Warrior: Be bold in working relentlessly hard to pursue our dreams;
- Lover: Be interested in and caring for others; and
- Leader: Provide leadership and direction to unite and lift those around us.
2) We Shall Reclaim Our Agenda
This declaration implores us to restore our life’s agenda by overcoming the chains of conformity and webs of distraction. To do so, we should seek clarity, direction and progress in what we do. A good way to do so involves creating a written manifesto outlining what our lives are truly about. After charting our own course, we should pursue it with “real force, will, and consistency” and not cave in to the expectations of others.
3) We Shall Defeat Our Demons
The greatest enemy is often within us. This “demon”, also known as defiance, has three ugly heads: doubt; delay and division. To overcome these negative traits, we can do the following:
- Transform the negative language of doubt (“What if…”), with faith (“I believe I can…”);
- Transform delay (“Wait! Please! Stop!”) with action; and
- Transform division (negative perception of others) with loving actions.
4) We Shall Advance with Abandon
Embracing the view that reality can be bended (Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field” anyone?), we are encouraged to pursue sustained and determined action. Along the way, we will experience both progress and struggles.
Whatever comes our way, we should fight for our dreams, and advance forward without needing to “wait for permission, proper timing, or ease”.
5) We Shall Practice Joy and Gratitude
To be a joyous master of life, the book propels us to maintain our joy and gratitude even in the midst of hardship, pain or injustice. Doing so requires us to embrace a sense of wonder and to “be curious, release expectation and take pleasure in small things”.
To make this a daily habit, we should measure our joy and gratitude with each task we undertake, asking ourselves, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much joy and gratitude am I bringing to this moment?”
6) We Shall Not Break Integrity
Integrity is about keeping our character, connections and contributions aligned and congruent to our true selves. To do so, we should practice the six practices of integrity:
- Think before we act;
- Never commit to anything we lack passion in;
- Keep our word;
- Always treat others with respect;
- Tell the truth; and
- Always favour action.
Beyond these practices, we should also beware of what Brendon term the seven temptations: impatience, disappointment, desperation, aggression, hurt, loyalty, and power.
7) We Shall Amplify Love
By proclaiming that nothing is “more awe-inspiring, more human and transfixing than unfiltered, unashamed love”, the book urges us to give and live in love.
Linking love to life’s animating energy and true divinity, we are taught how we can open our hearts, achieve breakthroughs in life, and elevate ourselves to a higher spiritual plane. Finally, we are reminded that love isn’t just intent but action.
8) We Shall Inspire Greatness
Greatness can only be achieved as our life’s destiny if we dare to rise above the mediocre standards of the world. Once again, Brendon provides a checklist – this comes in the form of nine rather self-explanatory virtues of greatness:
- Respect for others
9) We Shall Slow Time
Last but not least, we are encouraged to embrace practices which deepen our engagement with the moment rather than be “numb and unaware of our senses and surroundings”.
To slow time, we should first take deeper and longer breaths, allow our five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing) to absorb the moment, and attune our awareness to receive sensations.
A Motivational Call To Arms
Written in a passionate prose, The Motivation Manifesto seeks to blend philosophy, psychology and neuroscience into its pages. The book works as a clarion call, seeking to ignite the hearts of world weary corporate warriors and lead them to a more enlightened path.
Personally, I found the book a motivating and inspirational read. I couldn’t avoid nodding my head in agreement as I devoured its pages, seeking sustenance and guidance during a time of self-reflection and renewal.
Let me end with a quote from none other than Paulo Coelho (of The Alchemist fame):
The Motivation Manifesto is a poetic and powerful call to reclaim our lives and find our own personal freedom. It’s a triumphant work that transcends the title, lifting the reader from mere motivation into a soaringly purposeful and meaningful life. I love this book. – Paulo Coelho