‘You Are A Badass’: 7 Lessons From Jen Sincero’s Life-Changer
Jen Sincero’s book You Are A Badass should be required reading in any classroom (if you could ever get all parents to sign off on the naughty word). Semantics aside, it has tons of great advice for how you should approach this thing called life, and the sooner you internalize them the better.
As you go through your journey, you will find it easy to get caught up in self-doubt and uncertainty. With actionable advice, Sincero helps you understand how to cope with those situations as they arise. Here are 7 key takeaways from You Are A Badass that you need to know, with a special thanks to Blinkist for turning us onto this one.
‘You Are A Badass’ Lesson 1. What’s in it for me? Stop living for others and live for yourself.
The book challenges you to ask yourself why you do the things you do — why did you take this job or choose this major. How do you choose your hobbies, or why do you neglect them? Are others in your ear influencing the decisions that you are making?
Too often for fear of selfishness, we do what others tell us to do or what we think they think we are supposed to do. It’s understandable why we react this way. Society values selflessness a great deal.
But at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with your decisions. An example of this played out on early Friday morning (July 28) when U.S. Sen. from Arizona John McCain, a Republican, defied his party and cast the deciding vote against the GOP’s “skinny repeal” effort to deep-six ObamaCare.
We mention this not to take a stance in the healthcare debate, but to show how these things can be viewed. Many on the right feel McCain placed himself before party, effectively torpedoing the GOP’s chances in 2018 and enshrining a controversial law created wholly by Democrats.
Democrats, on the other hand, are viewing McCain as a principled leader, who voted his conscience and saved healthcare for millions of people.
McCain could very well be one (or both) of these things. But his decision to buck the party line shows an individualism that lacked concern for what others might think. That, and the whole war hero thing, are why many are calling him a badass.
2. Your negative beliefs are the biggest obstacle between you and your dreams.
Sincero’s book also challenges you to stop and pinpoint what it is that’s holding you back — or more specifically, what are your negative beliefs and where are they coming from?
Your parents might have told you no one in the family has ever been any good at making money, Sincero reasons, adding that as a result, “You shy away” from your potential, leading to what Sincero calls “The Big Snooze.”
“The big snooze” condemns you to fall in line and lead a life of complacency where you don’t put forth the effort to realize your full potential. It keeps you from chasing your dreams.
To combat this, you should adopt positive beliefs that allow you to have faith in yourself. Reflect on your best qualities. Reflect, reflect, reflect! Then, use those reflections to construct positive beliefs. This, Sincero states, is where your journey to becoming a badass begins.
3. Discover the person you want to be, and don’t let anyone tell you to quit.
The book argues that younger people tend to be more intuitive. What they lack in experience, they make up for in instincts and confidence. However, something happens to a person the older they get and the more times they get knocked down by life.
As you get older, you tend to do what others tell you to do. This essentially knocks that intuition out of us, and we start to become the human being others expect us to be rather than the one we are capable of becoming.
Peer pressure can also keep us from committing to a goal with the amount of time and energy it takes to master it. Writers, for example, have to read and write a lot to get good at their craft.
But when other people are hogging your time with demands or influence, it can get in the way of you finding success.
Colleagues, Sincero writes, may snicker, friends may drift, but you have to push on and be courageous enough to ignore their disapproval. If people are trying to push you down a traditional path that doesn’t align with the life you envision — and you let them — then you’re condemning yourself to a life of misery.
4. Express a desire to learn, cultivate gratitude, and learn how to forgive for a happier, richer life.
Sincero’s You Are A Badass observes that one’s time is limited, so it is important to make the best of it. Each day offers you an opportunity to find value, and if you’re not taking advantage of that, then you have changes to make.
You have to change your attitude towards challenging tasks. You must become an avid learner. When you do this, “mistakes are no longer frightening, but a welcome part of the learning journey.”
It helps to adopt what Sincero calls “a playful attitude.” This will help you to take failures in stride and grow rather than retreat in the face of failure. This in turn leads to more courage for taking risks.
To get there, Sincero advises, “Be grateful. Practice and share gratitude. Learn to forgive others and yourself.” Forgivenss, she adds, is what allows you to move forward in life.
5. Your thoughts are powerful, so make them work for you!
When trying to enact meaningful change and find your inner badass, it is important to stay hyper-focused on action. If there is a huge project you’re unsure of how to approach, take some time to break it down into actionable steps.
Uncover the “how” of the process.
Often, sitting with a blank sheet of paper and a pen-in-hand (aka “the old-fashioned way”) is one of the best techniques for finding manageable approaches to formidable problems.
From there, Sincero states, “think of yourself as the person you want to be. Act as if the thing you want is already reality. Fake it till you make it,” in other words. Do that long enough, and you will become what you seek to become.
6. Tackle procrastination, excuses, and hesitation, and nothing will stop you from taking action.
Procrastination is the devil’s tool, if you believe in such entities. It allows you to delay what needs done now and wastes precious time you’ll never get back. Worse, it manages to do so without you realizing it. Sometimes it can even convince you genuine wastes of time are necessary parts of the work. Essentially you fool yourself into thinking you’re working when you are not doing anything at all.
Aiming your thoughts at a problem will only take you so far. As the book states, “thought must be combined with real action” to be effective, and when we procrastinate, we let the fear of failure stop us from following through on decisions.
To overcome excuses, convince yourself of your purpose. We often hesitate when we believe we might become something we won’t like. The book uses the example of an introverted person, who has the desire to become an actor.
It’s easy to see how such a person — if they do “make it” in the business — could lose their sense of self and live the life that feels like they’re always putting on a show instead of becoming real. You’ve never liked extroverts, so will becoming an actor turn you into the very person you dislike? Ask yourself, “Do I really want to act? Will it make me happy? If it will, then you know your brain is trying to construct an excuse to keep you from following through.
And the 7th and final lesson from ‘You Are A Badass.’ From your friends to your habits to your money, focus all aspects of your life toward your goal.
The book argues that too many people in this world give up on their dreams too soon, citing examples — such as Michael Jordan, who didn’t make his basketball team at one point in life, but later became (arguably) the greatest player to ever dribble or dunk, and Steven Spielberg, who became the father of the summer blockbuster with Jaws and one of the most successful filmmakers to ever do the job yet failed to get into film school three times — as evidence of what never giving up can do for your life.
Rejection, the book argues, is part of every journey, but quitting should never be an option. Just allow your failures to lead you toward thoughtful changes and responsible pivots. And remember: to reach any goal, it helps to surround yourself with people, who have similar passions. By understanding this, you can give yourself permission to live your dreams.
You Are A Badass argues that to become what you want to be in life, you need to pinpoint what is holding you back, address it, and don’t let others distract you from your goals. Do you feel like you are living the life you were meant for? If not, what is holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Amazon]