8 things you have to do to step into the “badass zone.”
“You’re such a badass.”
I have been called many things in my life. I’d rather not go into explicit detail about exactly all the things I’ve been called. Let’s just say some of the things I’ve been called could be pretty hurtful.
I’ve been called a dumbass. Lord knows I’ve been called a smartass more times than I can count. But never before had I been called a badass.
What is a badass anyway? Granted, badassery is subjective. One person’s definition of badass is different than the next. Do I have the skills of a combat soldier or an MMA fighter? Yeah … er, no.
Granted, that’s a pretty myopic definition of badassery. Though I think it’s universal that combat soldiers are pretty badass.
In the months since my friend said that about me, I’ve been thinking about what being a badass means to me. And here’s what I came up with.
A badass is a person who is comfortable in his own skin. A badass is a person who isn’t afraid to fail. A badass isn’t afraid to slow down. A badass grows.
I could go on and on. But I won’t. Because that wouldn’t make for good reading.
As men, I think oftentimes we’re hesitant to lean into what makes us badass. We don’t want to appear arrogant or cocky. Or God forbid, manly.
I think every person reading this today is a badass. Or you could be if you gave yourself permission to be a badass. Whether your version of badassery involves a steel cage or just being a badass dad, we need to admit that it’s okay to be a badass. The PC police aren’t going to arrest us if we practice badassery. Give yourself permission to be a badass.
Here’s what I propose. If you give yourself permission to do these eight things, I think you can unlock your inner badass Jedi superpowers in pretty short order. These are in no particular order.
#1 — Give yourself permission to fail.
So many men are scared to death of failure. It keeps us from asking for that well-deserved raise. Fear of failure keeps us from speaking our minds at work. It keeps us from taking the chance that could launch our lives into the stratosphere. Think of it like this, if you try and fail then that’s the next step toward a success. This may be the only time I’ll say that Yoda was wrong: trying is critical.
#2 — Give yourself permission to win.
This isn’t just the counterpoint to permission one, this is separate. Do you celebrate your accomplishments? Do you really take time to celebrate the awesomeness that is you? When I finished revisions on my novel, I didn’t just say, “Yay, let’s get it published.” I treated myself to an amazing meal. Take time to celebrate the awesome that is you.
#3 — Give yourself permission to change.
How many movies have you seen where the main character’s arc is a straight line? Not many, because that’s boring. We want to see a character change, grow, and overcome. Well, human beings change, grow, and overcome. So long as you’re not getting away from the essence that is you, change is expected and welcome.
#4 — Give yourself permission to be yourself.
Fellas, this one is important. You can’t be a true badass if you don’t give yourself this permission. Is there something about your being that you hide? Do you deny the world the gift of who you are? Take steps to become more comfortable with expressing who you are mind, body, and soul. Trust yourself that your inner badassery is there.
#5 — Give yourself permission to love yourself.
Stop what you’re doing right now and go to a mirror … okay, don’t. Do that after you’re done reading this. But can you go to a mirror and say to the man in the mirror “I love you?” There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, loving yourself is the first step to improving every other relationship you have. A true badass loves himself.
#6 — Give yourself permission to unplug.
Smartphones, ambition, and the eighty-hour work week that some of us have are turning us from badasses to robots. Does that project have to be done right this second? Do you have to return that text or email immediately? Will the world stop rotating on its axis if you go to the gym, catch an afternoon baseball game, or play eighteen holes? No! It’s okay to unplug.
#7 — Give yourself permission to feel.
Gentlemen, emotions aren’t weakness. Crying is just water leaking from your face. What’s the main thing that separates human beings from other members of the animal kingdom, other than opposable thumbs, that is? It’s the ability to express our emotions with other humans.
#8 — Give yourself permission to inspire.
Let your struggle inspire the next generation of badasses. Because a true badass is a rare commodity. There aren’t many of us out there. The world needs more badasses.
Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about physical prowess? I believe even the badass combat soldier has given himself most of these permissions. Granted, failing on the battlefield is usually catastrophic. But if you fight not to lose, you’ll usually lose anyway.