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Brendon Burchard: Your Personal Guide To Being Uncomfortable

Updated on June 7, 2015
Bernadette Harris profile image

Bernadette is a proofreader, online blogger, and freelance writer. She graduated from Franciscan University with a B.A. in Literature.

Motivation: Fluff or Fact?

Brendon Burchard's “The Motivation Manifesto’’ is not my usual fair, meaning that it is entirely devoid of fictional shenanigans that I can enjoy criticizing. However, I’m going to talk about it today because it meets the one fundamental requirement of any really good book: it’s life changing.

If you're anything like me, that claim probably sounds highly unrealistic. Books are enjoyable and at best a bit thought provoking, but life changing? No book dedicated to telling you how great you are (for isn't this what motivational books are all about?) is actually going to engage you. You don't need to read 200+ pages about how you're a unique snowflake who's perfect just the way you are.

Well great, because this book does nothing of the sort.

Let's Talk About Brendon

This analysis must begin with one essential question: who the flying hell is Brendon Burchard? I could respond by saying the most awesome person ever, but that’d hardly help our purposes or clear anything up for you. Let’s just say he’s one of the most inspirational voices I’ve come across in our modern age of conformity and cold rationalism.

Mr. Burchard is the founder of the High Performance Academy, a bestselling author, and one of the most followed public speakers on the internet. His success seems to have come out of nowhere, but as he is fond of saying, it actually came out of a "small town called Work."

So where does it begin? With a tragedy. When he was 19 years old, Brendon was involved in a bad car accident. As the vehicle pitched over the side of the road and careened into spinning darkness and space, three questions instantaneously flashed through his brain: “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?” The answer to all three was a resounding “no” and he was confronted with the gut-wrenching fact that he was leaving life without ever having truly experienced it.

Five seconds later, he and his friend fought their way out of the twisted metal and Brendon climbed out to a moon-washed night, damaged but alive. As he stood on the hood of the car, gazing down at his own bloodied body (what an eerie sight that must’ve been!), he looked up at the full moon and resolved to never again have unsatisfactory answers to those three questions.

So he went on to share his story with others and help them tap fully into their own lives. It wasn’t all rainbows and roses, either. He went through bankruptcy and dark moments of uncertainty; he lost his father; he experienced multiple medical injuries. But all the while he never lost sight of his goal. Now he is a multi-millionaire, all thanks to his perseverance and almost superhuman determination to squeeze every drop out of the time he has on this earth.

What? I couldn't hear you over all my BADASSERY.
What? I couldn't hear you over all my BADASSERY.
Does scratching myself count as a life decision?
Does scratching myself count as a life decision?

9 Ways To Make You More Uncomfortable

Enter “The Motivation Manifesto,’’ a handy little guide to what he calls in his other books and podcasts “The Charged Life.” This book presents the reader with 9 declarations the "take back" their personal freedom and power:

  1. Meet life with full presence and power.

  2. Reclaim your agenda.

  3. Defeat your demons.

  4. Advance with abandon.

  5. Practice joy and gratitude.

  6. Do not break integrity.

  7. Amplify love.

  8. Inspire greatness.

  9. Slow time

Sounds great, but what exactly does this entail? Getting off our asses and taking action—which we all have trouble doing, let’s just be real for a second. I’m pretty sure that I’ve spent more time watching Seinfeld reruns than in making serious life resolutions. These 9 declarations are uncomfortable because they are not just pretty ideas or friendly suggestions. They are a call to real action and a challenge to step out of your tightly wound comfort zone.

Get up? Get real.
Get up? Get real.

What Does Your Mirror Say?

And that’s something Brendon is well aware of. Let's just say that this book is like a self-awareness spotlight, which he focuses on the darkest corners of your brain, enabling you to see the frightening objects that may lurk there. He forces you to dust them off, reconsider them, and maybe even finally kick them to the curb. He hands you the map and then leaves you to choose the road, because everyone’s destination is different.

His voice is also spectacular. His energy bleeds off every page page. Halfway through you realize that it’s not all just fluffy rainbow bull, but that this guy truly believes what he’s saying. And that makes all the difference. His very first paragraph grabbed me immediately not only because it was well-written, but because it hit on an uncomfortable truth recognized by all of us:

“There comes a time in the lives of those destined for greatness when we must stand before the mirror of meaning and ask: Why, having been endowed with the courageous heart of a lion, do we live as mice?”(ix, MM).

Brendon is fond of saying that “common sense is not often common practice,’’ and isn’t this exactly right? We all have an inkling of what to do or what we’d like to do, but we put it off with a plethora of stupid excuses: “Not yet, but maybe in a few years,” “What will people think,” “Maybe that’s not me,” etc, etc. We shuffle and stare at our feet when we have the power to jump up and hook the stars.

So here’s my challenge to you: take Brendon up on his offer to “life freely, love openly, and make your difference today.”

Why? Because being courageous and bold is what we’re made for.

Why? Because there's no freedom without challenge.

Why? Because he gives you a discount on the book if you order within a designated time frame. I got mine for seven dollars. Okay, that’s not a legit reason (though it sort of is), but you get my drift.

The Ascent

This book should be on the reading list of everyone, but it is particularly helpful for people who are in their twenties, fresh out of college and trying to decide on their ultimate life goals. Sometimes all you need is a person or ideology to grab you by the throat and shake you out of complacency, which encases us like a sticky substance that crystallizes over time until it can be difficult to scrape off.

So pick up "The Motivation Manifesto" and actually take it seriously. Don’t write it off as another happy-go-lucky motivation book loaded with cheesy self-esteem quotes. In fact, this book is all about claiming personal power through personal responsibility. Brendon doesn’t worry about making you “feel” good, but he does call you to a higher level of being that he knows you can reach.

Will you respond?


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