summary byJill Donahue
“It is only in challenging ourselves that we feel alive once more, energized and engaged in pushing ourselves toward a brighter future, one which lights our hearts and souls with a brilliant enthusiasm unknown to the masses of the caged or comfortable.”
The Charge, page 240
Are you ready to question why you live at the energy level that you do? Are you ready to challenge yourself to live a consciously designed life that makes you feel more engaged, energetic, and enthusiastic – a CHARGED life?
Brendon Burchard’s book, The Charge, won’t let you settle for living in boredom, distraction, or mediocrity. He shuns “normalcy”. And his timing is perfect. After all, most people are unhappier now than ever before. The clinical diagnosis of depression has increased tenfold in the past forty years. This is despite the fact that we have abundance in every aspect of life associated with well-being (such as food, money, education, safety, health care, arts).
In The Charge, Brendon Burchard inspires us to demand more of ourselves and then empowers us to purposely choose the way we show up in the world, define the meaning of our experience and demonstrate how remarkable we are.
All You Need Is…
“It’s my belief that the 10 Human Drives are what you really want in life, and if you’ll work toward activating them, your efforts will lead to a state of heightened energy, engagement, and enthusiasm- yes, happiness – that will simply astound you.”
The Charge, page 30
The Charge doesn’t just introduce us to the ten drives but also offers three strategies to activate each drive. These are powerful yet simple actions you can take to radically increase your levels of energy, engagement, and fulfillment in all areas.
He starts with the “baseline drives” which contribute to our stability in our sense of self and social belonging. They include your desires for more:
1. Control: of your outlook, character, new experiences, workflow
2. Competence: assess and direct your desire to learn, set a real challenge, plan for success and get a coach, integrate success into your identity
3. Congruence: set new standards for yourself, set your mood meter, keep your word, and follow through
4. Caring: care for thyself, be more vulnerable and allow others to care for you, be more present, interested, and attentive to others
5. Connection: define and design your ideal relationship, practice positive projection, find and cultivate ‘growth friends’
The following “forward drives” offer the home runs in happiness levels:
1. Change: make change about the gains not the losses, get clarity, think big and be bold, make real choices
2. Challenge: choose fulfilling challenges, focus on the journey and don’t fear rejection, set monthly 30-day challenges
3. Creative expression: amplify creative expression in all areas of your life, study people and design, create more, share more
4. Contribution: give of yourself, give to deeply meaningful contribution experiences, mentor others
5. Consciousness: focus on your consciousness, transcend consciousness, live in wonder
Burchard proposes that these drives shape everything you think, feel, and do in life; so understanding and mastering them is critical to your success and happiness.
Set New Standards For Yourself
The Charge, page 82
When describing the drive for congruence, Burchard offers a powerful exercise. He suggests it may be the most important exercise. You may want to do it right now. I did.
1. What are three words that describe who you are? Mine, for example are curious, enthusiastic, inspiring.
2. What are three words that describe how you treat others? Mine, for example are loving, caring, interested.
Now, think of your words each time you meet or interact with someone.
You see – if we don’t have a pre-selected standard for how to behave, we could be driven by nothing other than our immediate animal impulses to fight, flight, or freeze. By consciously choosing our character and behavior, we are then able to reach our highest potential. Who are you and how do you show up in the world?
Change Your Relationships Forever
The Charge, page 124
Want to change your relationships forever? In the connection section, Burchard reminds us of the importance of optimism in our relationships and encourages us to practice ‘positive projection’. Reinforcing the adage ‘you get what you look for’, he explains that whether it is your student or your spouse, if you want the best from them, you must see the best in them and expect the best from them. When your children are told they are attentive, charming, and pleasant, they start behaving that way. They then see the tired or distracted behavior as anomalous to who they are.
If you go through life believing that people are generally good and interesting, you will find good and interesting aspects of every person you meet. It requires you to honor their uniqueness and believe that goodness and humanity are part of who they are. In short, it requires love.
Does anyone think they compliment too much? I doubt it. In fact, Burchard references a study that shows you need to give five times as much praise as criticism. In the study, happily married couples who end up staying together for life have one interesting thing in common. The ratio in which they share positive versus negative input is 5:1.
Coupled together, positively projecting and praising five times more than complaining will change your relationships forever.
The Charge will leave you feeling energized and inspired. After reading it, something within you changes, and you find a new and lasting commitment for a better life.
Burchard inspires us to live in color. He empowers us to activate the drives that will lead to measurably improving the quality of your life. Each of his ten drives has actionable ideas so you will want to read the whole book to enjoy the full benefit of his work.
While he provides reflective exercises throughout the book, he cautions that it is only after finishing the book that the real work begins when we start acting on the ideas. We move forward, however, with his map that highlights how to be more conscious about designing our days and activating our drives. He further cautions that most stress today comes from distraction and procrastination.
So get on it! Activate your charge!
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