The Charge: Congruence

Continuing through Brendon Burchard’s latest book, The Charge, he moves on to cover the notion of congruence in a pretty odd fashion.

He never really talks about what it is, which I think is kind of important.

Congruence is a notion most of us encounter in geometry, where two shapes are said to be congruent if all the angles and proportions match.

This is actually a rather convenient shorthand for practicing what you preach, if we take “angle” as its slang meaning for an intention or goal. If you claim to be doing something for a particular reason, and that is in fact the reason you’re doing it, then that “angle” matches – so if all your reasons are accurately disclosed, that’s congruent.

There is, of course, the “proportions” thing. In geometry, it means the lengths of the sides have the same relation. With triangles, for example, you’ve got three angles and three sides. You can’t alter any side’s length without altering something else. So if all three angles match, then all the sides have the same proportions – the Pythagorean theorem covers this for right triangles, identifying the ratio of the hypotenuse to the other two sides.

In a personality context, what we’re really discussing is focus. To use a marketing example, every product vendor on the planet tells you to join a mailing list for product news and updates, which they never send. However, if they told you to join a mailing list for an interminable stream of shitty affiliate links for more crap you can buy, you wouldn’t join it.

Sometimes all the angles match. They’ll admit that their mailing list will receive frequent mailings, and that those mailing will include other offers along with useful information, but that it is also the sole channel for updates to the product. Except the product is never updated, so it doesn’t matter what channel the updates are in because there’s nothing on that channel but static anyway.

What’s lacking in that case is the proportions. They act as though the primary purpose of the list is to send updates to the product – and that those updates will (a) happen, and (b) have some useful function. In truth, the primary purpose of their list is delivering affiliate links to as many people as possible, and the ability to send updates is just a nebulous idea that may never see actual use.

Even the “useful” information sent out to these lists is generally just positioning you to receive an affiliate link later; remember yesterday, when I pointed out how Brendon’s “competence” chapter makes sure to include getting a coach? No marketer worth his salt would suggest that the job could be done just as well without him. There has to be self-interest in the process.

Indeed, the SLIM tetrad – Selfish, Lazy, Ignorant, and Mean – is a good way to check congruence. When people offer you something, there’s usually a SLIM motivation or two in there. Look for it. If you can’t find one, chances are pretty good that someone’s blowing smoke up your arse.


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