We all know that rah-rah pep talks and rallies don't actually motivate us. Sure, they might boost our energy or elevate our spirits for a moment - maybe even a week - but they tend not to produce the long-term, consistent results we're after. And yet, we keep looking for the quick surge or the band-aid fix that we think will give us the inspiration we need to have the best month, best quarter or best year of our lives.
After all, we do live in an instant gratification world. Unfortunately, you can't microwave zest for life. You can't click a mouse button and find true passion. You can't call up lasting joy on your smartphone.
High performance coach and author Brendon Burchard's message in The Charge is that consistently applied effort in our daily lives can produce the type of enthusiasm and excitement that we're looking for and Burchard himself embodies. But - he adds - we can't find it without hard work.
When you are born into the world, everything about it is new and fascinating. As you grow into an adult, however, you develop habits and neural pathways that continually facilitate your mental filters and reinforce your beliefs around your existence and the mechanics of the world. Habits aren't necessarily bad, but as humans we can get stuck in patterns that disable us from experiencing life to the fullest. In fact, life can become downright dull if we're not careful.
Burchard urges us to take a deeper look into our own existence and activate the 10 human drives that make us come alive.
My First Exposure to Brendon Burchard
Before the release of The Charge, I was not even aware of Brendon Burchard. It seems strange considering how much I've dug in to personal development, productivity and online marketing material. However, as Burchard himself seems to suggest, people and things come into our lives for a reason.
I believe I learned about his book because of Internet Business Mastery, Ryan Deiss, or some other newsletter that I subscribe to. Burchard was offering the book for the cost of shipping (or maybe it was for the low price of $2; I don't remember), and it seemed like a hard deal to pass up.
He had an accompanying video that explained what his new book was about, and his animated, excited demeanor suggested that he himself was fired up about life and eager to share his expertise and knowledge.
Digging into his book, you soon realize that his fire for life isn't blind or manufactured. He has experienced and overcome many challenges of his own, and the book also details his near-death experience in a car accident.
The Heart of the Book
I think what I like about this book most is the real-life stories the author shares at the beginning of each chapter. It has often been said that story is the most powerful medium one can use to illustrate their points and bring otherwise mundane concepts to life (just look at Jesus). This certainly proves to be true here.
In The Charge, Burchard explains the 10 C's that make up our human drives: control, competence, congruence, caring, connection, change, challenge, creative expression, contribution and consciousness. There are ways of activating each of these drives, but they usually involve hard work.
I took some notes and highlighted various passages on my first read-through of this book, but it is quite deep and shouldn't be considered light reading. I think this is the type of book one should come back to periodically, especially if you are losing hold of what gets you excited about life.
In short, activating your human drives often means getting out of your comfort zone and becoming a better observer of yourself, your feelings, your thoughts and your emotions. You may have to change your habits or develop new ones in order to reach your greater potential.
What This Book Is
The Charge is about understanding your natural human drives and activating them. As the author suggests, this isn't always easy work. If you're willing to tackle tough questions, dig deeper into your life and put a number (on a scale of one to 10) to how you're doing in any given area of your efforts, then you can find greater enthusiasm from within.
If you really want to make the most of this book, one read-through simply won't be enough. In a world with unending distractions and busyness, it can be difficult to find the time to read, think, and reflect. However, that's exactly what you need to do in order to generate a greater charge for life.
What This Book Is Not
Although applying the principals within this book could certainly encourage personal growth, it is not a step-by-step guide to developing the mindsets and habits around success (although indirectly it is). Let's face it; that information is already available to us in abundance in other great books. The author's intent is to help us realize our full potential and be charged about life on a daily basis. The answers we're reaching for aren't always as complicated or otherworldly as we sometimes make them out to be.
Because of my perfectionist side, I tend to notice grammatical, spelling or verbiage errors in articles and books, and though there are relatively few here, I still found some. It's easy to criticize, but I know that I sometimes make mistakes myself, and when there are a couple hundred pages to review, editing is no simple task.
Putting together a book of this caliber is a massive achievement, and for that reason alone I have great respect for anyone (any team) that goes to the lengths they do to create a meaningful, organized piece of writing.
I have to admit, though, that The Charge threw me for a bit of a loop. I think I was expecting more personal development material, and that it is not. I think I was excepting simple explanations and easy methods of generating more joy in life, but the book says there is no reward without hard work.
However, I'm glad that Burchard didn't provide easy solutions. Anyone who says personal growth is easy is either missing the point or trying to sell something. The Charge is clearly for those who want to go deeper and discover how they can reach the mountain tops in their lives. It's for those who want to perform better and learn to appreciate life as a whole.
Amazon Price: $26.00 $7.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 6, 2013)