Over the holidays my mother gave me a book called You are a Badass which made me laugh because I don’t think the word “badass” has ever come out of her mouth. Although there are (of course) some topics and people that interest me more than others, I’m always happy to read New York Times bestsellers – especially when they are recommended by one of my favorite people. But when I realized that what I had in my hands was a self-help book written by a “success coach,” I rolled my eyes as a I read the first sentence on the back cover: “You are a Badass is the self-help book for people who desperately want to improve their lives but don’t want to get busted doing it.” Ugh. I decided to give it a try any way.
As a read the first few pages, I was pleased to find out that author Jen Sincero is funny, uses anecdotes to tell her story and give advice, and isn’t afraid to push the envelope. While some of the sections and chapters did get repetitive, she made some valid points throughout her 244-page book.
A few of her insights and some of my reactions:
“If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done.”
“It’s not your fault that you’re fucked up. It’s your fault if you stay fucked up.” – Sincero encourages people to take responsibility. I like it!
“The Universe has surrounded us with the perfect teachers. Animals, for example. Animals are in the present all the time, and their secret power is to pull us in with them.” – Well-said. I’ve learned so much from Sedona over the years she might as well be the Dalai Lama.
“We would be wise to take more of our cues from the beasts and babies.”
“Self-perception is a zoo.”
“Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life. It’s none of your business what other people are doing.” – Excellent point – need to keep that in mind.
“Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory first in the air did it from their comfort zone.” – Need to keep this one in mind as well.
“No matter what it is – raising your prices or raising your children – if you do the absolute best you possibly can, and come from a place of integrity, you can be proud of yourself and not give a damn what anyone else thinks.”
“The important thing is that you keep showing up.” – Yes. So incredibly true.
“There is nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah.”
“One of the best things I ever did was make my motto ‘I just wanna see what I can get away with.’ It takes all the pressure off, puts the punk rock attitude in, and reminds me that life is but a game.”
“Giving is one of our greatest joys. It’s also one of the most fearless and powerful gestures there is.” – I’m glad that my mom taught me this a long time ago.
“Holding on to resentment is like taking poison and waiting for your enemies to die.”
“There’s no better teacher than necessity…passion trumps fear.”
“Don’t get tangled up in the stupid little stuff that you miss out on enjoying the people who have part-ownership of your heart.”
“Deciding is freedom. Indecision is torture.”
“You have to be willing to fall down, get up, look stupid, cry, laugh, make a mess, clean it up, and not stop until you get there. No matter what.” – I really need to keep this one in mind.
Four things I wish everyone would learn:
“Keep your word if you say you’re going to do something. It’s not rocket science…not only will this help you create more time in your own life, but you’ll stop being one of those rude people who constantly wastes everyone else’s.”
“Get a new pair of eyeballs on the situation. And get someone who knows what they’re doing please…Working with a pro will save you time and money in the long run because you won’t have to spend time undoing, or doing over, whatever your wimpy first attempt was.”
“The only thing worse than staying up all night freaking out about something is then being too exhausted the next day to deal with it either.”
“Surround yourself with people who know more than you do. Read about them, study them, hang out with them, and hire them.”
She also intelligently quotes some people who know/knew what they are/were talking about:
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” –Kurt Cobain
“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” –Joseph Campbell (author whose ideas and books influenced the making of Star Wars)
“You don’t paddle against the current, you paddle with it. And if you get good at it, you throw away the oars.” –Kris Kristofferson
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’” –Audrey Hepburn
Although I’m not the biggest proponent of self-help books, this one definitely had its moments. It’s also a quick and enjoyable read written by someone who seems to write like she talks which is a skill I admire. There’s a reason why this book has sold over one million copies.