When Brendon Burchard sent his fifth book, The Motivation Manifesto, to his original publisher, they didn’t get it. The first chapter opens as a personal-development-minded take on the Declaration of Independence and uses formal language from that time to call out our often-buried motivation.
In this excerpt from the first chapter of The Motivation Manifesto, Burchard summons readers to declare their personal power to become something better.
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?
We must look squarely into our own tired eyes and examine why we waste so much time sniffing at every distraction, why we cower at the thought of revealing our true selves to the world, why we scurry so quickly from conflict, and why we consent to play small.
We must ask why we participate so humbly in society’s frantic race, allowing ourselves into its mazes of mediocrity and settling for scraps of reward when nature has offered unlimited freedom, power, and abundance to the bold, the determined, the creative, the independent—to each of us.
We must ask if our desires to feel safe and accepted are in fact enslaving us to popular opinion—and to boredom. We must ask: When will we be ready to ascend to another level of existence?
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to ask such questions and to dissolve the beliefs and behaviors that have limited us, assuming once more the full powers of our being to which God and the laws of nature have entitled us, a decent respect to humankind requires that we should declare the motives that impel us to exert our strength and to separate ourselves from those who stunt our vitality, growth, and happiness.
We must declare our personal power and freedom.
We hold these truths self-evident: That all men and women are created equal, though we do not live equal lives due to differences in will, motivation, effort, and habit. That we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, but that it is incumbent upon each of us to be vigilant and disciplined should we wish to attain such a vital, free, and happy life. We believe the greatest of human powers is the ability to independently think for ourselves, to choose our own aims, affections, and actions. For in the hearts of humankind lives a natural instinct for freedom and independence, a psychological predisposition for self-direction, a biological imperative toward growth, and a spiritual joy in choosing and advancing one’s own life. It is the main motivation of humankind to be free, to express our true selves and pursue our dreams without restriction—to experience what may be called Personal Freedom.
To secure these Rights and this Personal Freedom, men and women of conscience must not consent to be controlled by fear, convention, or the will of the masses. We must govern our own lives, and when our thoughts and actions become destructive it is our responsibility to alter or abolish them and to institute new habits as the foundations for a freer, happier life. We must exert our power, improving how we think and how we interact with the world.
When a long chain of self-oppressions and social controls has reduced our strength and independence, it is our right—our duty—to throw off such a life, rise anew, and charge unencumbered through the gates of greatness.
We have patiently suffered long enough, hoping that someone or some kind of luck would one day grant us more opportunity and happiness. But nothing external can save us, and the fateful hour is at hand when we either become trapped at this level of life or we choose to ascend to a higher plane of consciousness and joy. In this ailing and turbulent world, we must find peace within and become more self-reliant in creating the life we deserve.
This will be a difficult effort, as the history of our actions too often tells a tale of self-injury and unhappiness, stemming from our blind desire to be judged worthy, acceptable, and lovable by people who hardly know our true hearts and powers. And so we have kept ourselves down: We forgot to set clear intentions and standards, and too often failed to voice our desires and dreams. Randomness and mediocrity too often ruled the day, and the loud and the needy dictated who we were and what we should do—our lives becoming subject to the tyranny of fools. If we can be vulnerable and brave enough to admit such missteps, we might see the potential we left unrealized; we might see a shining new path.
And so let us right our lives. Let us face the mirror and be candid. No matter what we see, let us use these common human truths and personal declarations to reclaim our freedom:
We are too often lost in the abyss of unawareness. We regularly miss the energy and blessings around us, and the importance of this very moment. It’s as though we prefer to be elsewhere doing something else, as if we are living in distant time zones, hours behind or ahead of the joyous tick and bliss of Now. We have forgotten that the natural foe to life is not a distant death, but a present, in-the-moment detachment from living. Should we wish to be free and alive with full power, we must decide to bring the full might of our conscious mind to the present experience. We must choose to feel again. We must set intentions for who we are, for what roles we wish to serve, for how we’ll relate with the world. Without a vibrant awareness, we cannot connect with others or ourselves, nor can we meet the demands of the hour with grace. For this, we now declare: WE SHALL MEET LIFE WITH FULL PRESENCE AND POWER.
We have ceded control of our daily lives. Amid incessant distraction, our discipline in pursuing high ambitions has vanished. The white space of a free day seems unfathomable because we have become hypnotized by a false but compelling need to respond to all the needs of others. We are pulled at from every angle, torn from meaningful efforts by frivolous pursuits or false emergencies, and we are often unsure how to balance our lives with the needs of those we love. We are too often detached from what is most worth fighting for; our busywork consumes our day but it is not our life’s work. Most do not feel a stark, stirring life purpose—they don’t hunger for it in the morning or orient their day to its pursuit. A life of greater joy, power, and satisfaction awaits those who consciously design their life. For this, we now declare: WE SHALL RECLAIM OUR AGENDA.