I’ve got a copy of Brendon Burchard’s The Charge over here which I’ve had for a couple weeks, but didn’t get around to reading until I had that massive do-nothing day interviewing at Microsoft for a position that it turned out I couldn’t have on a bet. (I can’t discuss it in any meaningful way, because of nondisclosure.)
So for the next couple weeks, I’m going to be posting my thoughts on Burchard’s ten fundamental human drives… dealing with the five “baseline” drives first, then the five “forward” drives, with a slight break in between for Music Video Saturday and a midpoint commentary.
I’m a fan of Brendon’s, and tend to buy whatever he puts out at the drop of a hat. He’s a smart guy, and this is a smart book.
The basic idea of the book is that we’ve all got unprecedented access to information and tools and awesome shit we could do these days, and yet most of us are deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. I’ve been wrestling with this ever since… well, honestly, ever since I first realised my wife didn’t give a shit whether I ever got my business back off the ground again.
Burchard divides people’s lives into three types: the caged life, where you feel trapped and unable to accomplish anything; the comfortable life, where you have pretty much everything you need but aren’t really making much of a mark in the world; and the charged life, where you’re kicking arse and taking names and everything is awesome.
Most of the world is divided pretty evenly into the “caged” and “comfortable” camps. When I first got into the internet marketing world, I was very much in a “caged” life; now, I’m even more effectively caged, since my wife had been in a “comfortable” life and repaid me for my efforts by pulling everything down around our ears in a desperate effort to make me abandon what I was trying to do.
Selfish, lazy, ignorant, and mean. “I want my life to stay exactly the way it is! But I’m not going to work for what I want! And I won’t talk to anybody about it, either! I’m just going to ruin everything for everybody else!”
But what isn’t dealt with very much in Brendon’s book – largely because, like me, he probably can’t entirely fathom the idea – is that an awful lot of people don’t want a charged life. The comfortable life, where they don’t make a difference, is all they really want in the first place. Because people are selfish, lazy, ignorant, and mean.
Making a difference is based on a fundamental idea of serving others. Brendon gets this. I get this. A lot of really great teachers and mentors and gurus get this. And when you really dig into it, you’ll find out that they are almost universally… religious people.
There’s no single common thread of religion. Burchard is a christian. I’m Jewish (Music Video Saturday is actually an observation of the Sabbath). Many other people have been Buddhists or followers of Islam. But when you really look at the greatest role models in the world, almost all of them are religious in some way or other. It’s very rare for them to be atheist or agnostic, and even when they are, they usually have a religious upbringing which instructed and informed their values.
I don’t believe this is a coincidence. Religion often rests on the idea that you have a duty to share your good fortune with the world – to help others whenever you can. And without a deep conviction that you need to help others, most people won’t do it if it’s even mildly inconvenient.