The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive Book Summary



Every now and then a book comes along that champions the possibilities of life, and the greatness within you.

It reminds you of what you’re capable of in a way that stirs your spirit.

The Charge: Activating  the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, by Brendon Burchard is a welcome addition to the bookshelf of life.

Brendon is the best-selling author of The Millionaire Message and Life’s Golden Ticket.

He is also the founder of High Performance Academy, where he is one of the top motivators and high performance trainers in the world.

Live Your Life Like a Garden in Full Bloom

The Charge is a guide on how to live your life like a garden in full bloom.  It’s a book about how to design a conscious existence to live your best life, enjoy the journey, and realize your full potential.

It’s a book that reminds you that you were born for something more.   It’s a book that makes your soul sing, and challenges you to bring out your best, in all arenas of your life.

Your life is your self-expression.

Here is a guided tour of The Charge

Chapters at a Glance

Here are the chapters at a glance:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 — Out of the Darkness
  • Chapter 2 — The Drive for CONTROL
  • Chapter 3 — The Drive for COMPETENCE
  • Chapter 4 — The Drive for CONGRUENCE
  • Chapter 5 — The Drive for CARING
  • Chapter 6 — The Drive for CONNECTION
  • Chapter 7 — Introducing the Forward Drives
  • Chapter 8 — The Drive for CHANGE
  • Chapter 9 — The Drive for CHALLENGE
  • Chapter 10 — The Drive for CREATIVE EXPRESSION
  • Chapter 11 — The Drive for CONTRIBUTION
  • Chapter 12 — The Drive for CONSCIOUSNESS
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

What’s in it for You

Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • Learn how to transform your life to feel more alive, engaged, and fulfilled.
  • Learn how to activate the ten drives that make you most human.
  • Learn how to design challenges that make you feel alive.
  • Learn how to make more meaning from your day to day struggles and events in your life.
  • Learn how to leave a lasting legacy a day at a time, a moment at a time.
  • Learn how to deal with the fear of failure and the fear of rejection.
  • Learn how to make the most of change with positive “what-if” statements.
  • Learn how to change habits with the “This-That Rule Tool.”
  • Learn how to stoke the fire in your belly with big dreams and “moonshots.”
  • Learn how to be more present, interested, and attentive to others.
  • Learn what psychologists know about competence.
  • Learn how to introduce new experiences in your life to remain fully engaged, energized, and enthusiastic.

Key Features

  • Framework.  A Framework for Human Motivation.  The framework is organized using 10 drives and 3 activators per drive.
  • Activators.  These are specific techniques to turn insight into action and activate a particular human drive.
  • Charge Points.  These are bullet points at the end of each chapter to summarize the main ideas and key take aways.
  • Conversational tone. The book is written in a conversational way.  It’s written in a way that speaks to you or with you, not at you.
  • Drives. The foundation of the book is ten human drives for amplifying your life.  The core chapters are about these drives.
  • Stories. The book is filled with stories of transformation with Brendon’s clients, as well as with stories of Brendon’s own personal transformation and life-changing events.
  • Templates and Tools.  You can download additional templates and tools to help turn the book into action.

Why Lead a Charged Life?

First, what is a Charged Life?  According to Brendon, a Charged Life is “a consciously designed existence that feels evenly engaged, energized, and enthusiastic.”    Why do we care about leading a Charged Life?  Brendon says, “Only the more humanly connected, caring and emotionally engaged among us ever become number one at any endeavor (or truly happy, for that matter).”

It’s your ticket to living life better, and bringing out your best.

Did I Live? Did I Love? Did I Matter?

Brendon’s inspiration and zest for life comes down to embracing three fundamental questions.  Brendon writes:

“In brief, after being in a car that flipped over a curve at eighty-five miles an hour, I learned that when we crash onto death’s doorstep, we’re all forced to ask three questions: 

Did I live?

Did I love?

Did I matter? 

It was a soul-shaking experience, to say the least, and it made me question everything in my life. 

I had never really lived before and the accident made me get serious about doing so.”

Out There

The Charged Life is there for your taking.  It’s out there.  Brendon writes:

“It is out there, in a new world of uncertainty and adventure, that we push ourselves, better ourselves, realize ourselves. 

It is only in the herculean quest for something more that life fills us with wisdom and meaning, but only after we have paid with our sweat and, at times, our tears. 

It is in the marching on when we are tired and weak and fearful, and in the camaraderie of those fellow warriors we have striven with — our brothers and sisters and family and friends who cheered us on and toiled with us despite the messiness and apparent madness of it all.”

A New Framework for Human Motivation

The foundation of the book is a new model for human motivation.  It picks up where Maslow left off, and it integrates what we want from life.  Brendon writes:

“In The Charge, I’ll answer these questions by proposing a new framework for thinking about human motivation — one that moves us away from merely doing what we need to do to feel secure and comfortable into the drives that make us feel truly alive. 

Along the way, we’ll go deep inside your mind and understand the structure of your brain, and we’re going to give you the mental levers to actually change that wiring. 

The mixed bag of emotions that you feel about your life and your work is going to be laid bare before you, and, perhaps for the first time in your conscious adult life, you’re going to learn how to control, reassemble, and reconfigure it so that you can experience the Charged Life.”

We’ve Cracked the Code

We’ve learned a lot.  The book is rooted in lessons learned from neuroscience,   positive psychology, and high-performance.  Brendon writes:

“All this “change your life” stuff might sound grossly exaggerated and out of reach, if not for some recent advances in the fields of neuroscience, positive psychology, and high performance. 

We’ve learned more about how our brains function in the past three years than in the previous three thousand. 

We’ve broken psychology’s century-old focus on neurosis and what’s wrong with us and reframed our study on what’s right with us. 

We’ve cracked the code on what it takes for you to perform at higher levels of joy, engagement, and productivity.”

Challenge is the Great Unifier of All the Drives

Our challenges create us.  We shape our destiny and we unfold and unveil who we are when we test ourselves during our challenges.  Brendon writes:

“Whether challenge is self-imposed or imposed on us by the world, it forces us to give our full attention, leverage our strengths, stretch our limits, learn, and grow. 

When engaged in a challenge, we lose our sense of time and, to some extent, ourselves.  It’s why you look up from playing a video game, painting a picture, writing a book, or going a few rounds on the mechanical bull, and suddenly it’s hours later. 

Challenge is really the great unifier of all the drives in that it introduces a change in our lives that we must now control, build new competence around, and, often, socially manage (activating caring and connection).”

Don’t Let Your Dreams Die in the Daylight

One of my favorite insights in the book is how we need to follow our dreams, for us.  Brendon writes:

“… as much as that’s your artistry, this is my artistry: encouraging and challenging others to go for their dreams. 

So I do have skin in the game. 

My name is on the line with you, right now. 

You have a vision and a dream. 

Don’t let it die in the daylight.  Don’t do it because it’s safe or would please others. 

Do it because it turns in your gut to do so.”

Being Our Best Contributes Significantly to the World

One of the best ways to contribute to the world, is to be the best YOU in the world.  Living your life fully can inspire others to do the same.  Brendon writes:

“Ours is a society that has falsely assumed that contribution must mean giving to some specific cause rather than simply giving our best selves. 

Thus, too many people don’t recognize the fact that simply being who they are is contributing significantly to the world. 

What if simply living your truth, being your best, and fully expressing your strengths, talents, and abilities at whatever you do were sufficient to contribute to the world? 

I say it is, and we must not overlook the fact that being our best ultimately inspires others and can and does indeed make an impact.”

7 Most Common Attributes of Chargers

According to Brendon, these are the seven most common attributes of people living the charged life:

  1. Chargers are open and observant in the moment.
  2. Chargers are future oriented.
  3. Chargers are challenge seekers.
  4. Chargers are deeply interested in, and authentically connect with, others.
  5. Chargers are self-reliant.
  6. Chargers are creatively driven.
  7. Chargers are meaning makers.

Focus on the Journey Rather than the Destination

Even when it’s old wine in a new bottle, Brendon delivers it in a deeper way, and helps you make stronger connections to the “why” or the “how” behind it.   One example is the benefits of focusing on the journey, and really stepping into our experiences.  Brendon writes:

“To avoid this, we’ve got to follow the wisdom of the ancients, who told us to focus on the journey rather than the destination. 

Don’t worry whether you’ll succeed at the highest level or not as you’re on the journey. 

Instead, be in the moment during the journey: Enjoy it, live it, and learn from it. 

Pay attention to what’s in front of you one step at a time, relishing in your efforts and the new knowledge, skills, and abilities you’re picking up along the way. 

Learn to enjoy the process of taking on your challenges and celebrating your own effort as much as your results.  The more you focus on the journey, the more challenges feel engaging and surmountable.”

For some of you, this might be the most important book you read this year.  Maybe in your life.  The book has already been changing lives, and I’m hearing the stories in the halls.

This book lifts us and is a game changer with heart.

If you want the fire in your belly, and a lust for life, and system for living your best life, read The Charge.

Get the Book

The Charge by Brendon Burchard is available on Amazon:

The Charge: Activating  the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, by Brendon Burchard

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  1. I have heard about Brendon Burchard’s book. Sounds very awesome. I am thrilled with your recommendations, JD. I enjoy self-improvement books and I believe that a positive push benefits everyone regardless of how fine they are.

    Thank you!

  2. @ Vidya — I think you’ll like the concepts and the language used in this book. I think the language is especially important because it makes a lot of ideas both easier to remember, and easier to put together.

    It’s also action-oriented which helps put the ideas into practice.

  3. @Alik: Excellent observation!

    @JD: You’ve done a GREAT job characterizing this book. I’ve been enjoying your recent book reviews. I’ve come to expect these useful sections:
    Chapters at a Glance
    What’s in it for You
    Key Features
    And of course then you customize what the book has to offer. I’ve just added this to the very short list of books in my on-deck queue. Thanks for letting us know about it!

  4. That is a great summary of the book! Thanks for this information, it sounds like something I would really enjoy reading.

    I gather that emotions are huge part of this book and it reminds me of what I read from Dale Carnegie that we are creatures of emotion…not of logic.

    Thanks JD.

  5. @ Jason — Thank you.

    If anything, it’s about working with your emotions vs. against them. In fact, it’s about transforming your emotions into a powerful force so you take consistent action towards your big, harry challenges.

    We’re definitely creates of emotion, but logic is our friend. For example, one key success pattern in life is delayed gratification. Emotionally, we want instant gratification, but if we rationalize and practice delayed gratification, we play a better game over time.

  6. I was re-visiting the book. It’s extraordinary. Here are two favorite quotes I refer to frequently:

    This is your time. Your destiny awaits. Ready yourself. Let’s roll.
    —Brendan Burchard, in The Charge

    The Specter of Death twitches my ear. “Live”, he says, “I am coming.”
    —from Virgil, as quoted by Brendan Burchard, in The Charge

    • Excellent quotes!

      I’ve been meaning to revisit The Charge to create an actionable checklist. The book is full of great reminders, but I need to put them at my fingertips in a simpler, more actionable way.

  7. What a very thorough review! Well done – I am reading his book now and really enjoying it. I am trying to do his suggestions before I leap on to the next book.I tend to read and glean but not practice.

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