I’ll admit it, I don’t normally reach for self-help/motivational/psychology/self-improvement books. That’s basically because if I’m going to have time to read, I’m going to read something purely for entertainment or inspiration. (I mean, I realize self-help, etc. books can be inspiring, too, but in all honesty, the kinds of books I’m describing leave me a bit ambivalent and maybe totally skeptical. I think, Yah yeah yeeeaaah, follow these steps and do this this and this and then wham-o! you’re happy and free and even rich!
UNTIL YOU’RE NOT.)
So. When my friends at The Blog Frog asked if wanted to read The Charge, I hesitated. But, because I’m so self-improved and open-minded, I took a look at the description of the book anyway and became surprisingly curious. I saw the potential for The Charge to elaborate on something I’ve already been doing a lot of thinking about; what makes us feel more fully alive?
Why do we get so easily bored, depressed, lethargic, etc, even when our lives are busy, spiritually healthy, full and we have loved ones and food on the table?
That’s the very question that Brendon Burchard addresses in The Charge. In the book, Brendon talks about the 10 human drives that make us feel alive and then provides avenues to giving those drives a jolt, if you will. Brendon Burchard teaches through two of my favorite things–story-telling and discussions of the way neuroscience can “see” the happy activity increasing in our brains when we ignite these basic human drives.
As a recovering alcoholic, this is obviously intriguing to me. I knew that a lot of the reason I drank was to overcome the dullness behind my eyes; the feeling that my brain just wouldn’t wake up in a way that felt good, unless my bloodstream had its drug of choice–wine–flowing up and throwing on that switch that would make me feel…well, more alive. I’ve made it no secret that this combination became dangerous for me and I found my way (thankfully) to sobriety. Now, two and a half years later, I so often think about my bio-chemistry and that same dull feeling I get that I used to self-medicate. In sobriety, I’ve slowly come to learn that what I need is not found in a bottle, it’s found in truly living in a way that people seem hesitant to live. With risk, adventure and new experiences within a loving community of new people as well as those I’ve known a very long time.
That isn’t to say that I’m spending every day walking a high wire or bungee jumping with friends and family. It’s more that I’m constantly seeking new endeavors like a road trip with my family to a town we’ve never seen even though we live very close by, or a creative venture that fills my need to commune with other artists and make something out of nothing.
Burchard calls this the Control for New, and he’s talking about how we have in our control the ability to stretch ourselves beyond the daily grind, to live new things. We have the potential to feel more fully alive by simply experiencing the new. He says, “a happy brain is an engaged brain,” and when I read that I thought a lot about motherhood and how often we beat ourselves up for not feeling engaged. But the reality is that lather, rinse and repeat starts to take a toll on a person’s brain. We are made for more than falling into ruts of routine, and there are times in life where there isn’t a lot of time to reach for adventure, but we have to try to remember that it’s possible to fit in these happy brain experiences even in small ways. Like saying YES to jumping in the huge puddle and maybe even jumping in ourselves. Or maybe we’re striking up a conversation rather than just simply thinking our thinks and walking away. Or most of all, maybe it’s taking a moment to help someone with a small thing as we pass through, igniting their dopamine and ours, you know?
Anyway, that’s just one example of the many ways to ignite that fully alive feeling that Burchard talks about in The Charge. He covers much more and if I had more space and time I could wax philosophical on each drive: The Drive for Connection (OH YES). The Drive for Caring (AMEN). Just two name a couple. I talk a lot on The Extraordinary Ordinary about these things. I care a lot about them. Now, because of this book, I’m so grateful to know more about WHY I care so much, HOW these things make us tick and I’m just astounded at how we’re made. Friend, you are a masterpiece and in true motivational book style I want to tell you that you can live more fully alive! Brendon Burchard is a very good teacher.
I’m humbled to say I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge this book. I found that it enriched my life in ways I wasn’t expecting, and I learned a lot more about things I stubbornly thought I already knew. (I find I almost always learn something important if I set my prideful ego aside.)
(Dear Mr. Burchard, please forgive my bias toward other reading materials. I have learned my lesson. You can tell by all the underlining in your book. Thank you! Sincerely, Heather)
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Burchard Group Sponsored Conversation. The opinions and text are all mine. Burchard Group Sweepstakes and Rules.