Feeling Alive
Book Reviews,  Intellectual Life,  Emotional Life,  Character

The Charge

The Charge Book Cover
The Charge Personal Development Simon & Schuster Audio Audiobook 7h 57m Audible

In the hyper-connected, hyper-digitized world in which we are living, the time has come to revise Abraham Maslow’s classic “hierarchy of needs” a pyramid of human drives that places the basic needs of safety and sustenance at the bottom. Burchard, a world-renowned motivational speaker and best-selling author, makes a compelling case that it’s time for an entirely new approach to understanding what drives human ambition and achievement today; it’s time to change the conversation about what it takes to succeed and feel alive and fulfilled in a stressful, chaotic, distracted world.

In The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive, Burchard, using pioneering studies from the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience, as well as great stories from his own experience, identifies the ten simple drives of human emotion and happiness: Control, Competence, Congruence, Caring, Connection, Change, Challenge, Creative expression, Contribution, and Consciousness. The Charge provides the keys to understanding and activating these drives in clear and concrete ways that will inspire and help everyone find the one thing we all are searching for: more life in our lives.


I took Brendon’s course called The 10 Human Drives earlier this year, which is based on this book. The course runs for 90 minutes and is an excellent overview of the 10 human drives. The book takes each one and delves deeper into the research and background with additional case studies from Brendon’s own clients about how he identified these charges lacking within them and helped them turn it around and lead a more transformed and fulfilling life.

According to Brendon, we live our lives in one of three states:

  1. Caged: We are trapped in the past or in the expectations of others. Those who live caged lives feel tethered to where they are and are imprisoned in their fear of extrinsic things.
  2. Comfortable: People in this state are stuck in a rut though they may be affluent. They often see the world as stale and feel limited by their own success, and are often content but uninspired.
  3. Charged: In this state, life is magical and meaningful. They are engaged in the present, open and observant, future-oriented, challenge seeking, authentic in connecting with others, self-reliant, creative, and meaning makers.

The book seeks to bring more of the third state to our lives. He discusses a number of simple tools you can apply to your life (with links to some on the book’s resources website) which include the This That Rule Tool, a Success Indicator Assessment, his personal Meditation Guide, and a 1-Page Productivity Planner.

Each of the ten Charges is outlined by Brendon’s Activators. These summarise the key activators or drives for this charge. For example, one Activator for the Control drive is the “Control for New.” This includes activities such as getting away from work and your usual surroundings every 90 days, even for a short break; trying new restaurants with friends; exploring what is happening in your area this weekend and doing something different; setting travel adventures; expanding your peer circle; and developing new skills. He eloquently explains how each of these Controls enlivens (charges) us and why each is essential for our wellbeing. At the end of each Charge section, he then lists Charge Points which are a series of statements which are open-ended and require you to fill in the blank. These are deeply introspective moments for you to pause the audio and reflect on how your life would be if you did a certain thing or applied a certain principle that has just been discussed. They are guideposts for how to apply aspects of each charge in your life and feel more alive. Here are examples from the Control drive:

If I were to live at a higher level of character and maintain a more positive outlook, I would have to begin …

Two things I could schedule in my calendar right now to control for “new” and introduce novelty and challenge into my life are …

A project that I could get involved in or create immediately that would allow me to be more fully invested in my work and shepherd a project from beginning to end would be …

You can get a further sense of the overview of the contents from my earlier post on The 10 Human Drives course, and a sample of the book’s narrative style on my last post Why do so many people feel cut off from the emotions of caring?

If you are serious about enhancing your quality of life, I recommend this book and recommend spending time doing the exercises (Charge Points). Take time to journal your thoughts and responses and really embed the learning into your own life.

Buy the book on Amazon.

Have you read it? What did you think of it? Leave a comment below and get the discussion rolling.

We live in one of three states as Brendon Burchard says - caged, comfortable or charged - often one of the first two. But we aspire to a better life, a more charged life, one where we don’t feel trapped or stuck in a rut (yet comfortable), one where we don’t compromise and live a charged life. My purpose is to help you find your charge. I post updates about my own journey here and if you have any questions or would like any support, feel free to contact me or connect with me on any of the social networks.

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