Have you ever wanted to change careers, go back to school, or move far away to start a new life? Maybe you were once excited by the idea of change but, as soon as you started taking the first steps, you started to doubt yourself. Your loved ones called you crazy. You realized the commitment would be more expensive than you originally thought. You got scared and retreated to the comfort of your current life, even if it’s making you miserable.
Big changes and life-changing decisions are hard to make, but the real difficulty doesn’t come from wanting to change, but from becoming willing to change. The transition from wanting something to actually going for it can be the difference between failure and success, and according to bestselling author Jen Sincero, the number one thing that holds us back from change is ourselves. Our self-doubt has a way of psyching us out, convincing us that we don’t have what it takes to get what we want out of life.
Sincero believes, however, that self-confidence is like a muscle; the more you use it and believe that you really can achieve whatever you put your mind to, the easier it becomes to have the strength to do even newer, scarier, and more exciting things.
You are a badass, but your subconscious doesn’t want you to be
When we’re growing up, we take in the beliefs and ideas of the people around us, especially from our parents. Their perception of the world becomes our perception of the world, a perception that later guides us through the everyday trials of adulthood. If our parents struggled to make money, we will also struggle because we subconsciously believe that making money is supposed to be a struggle, because it’s all we’ve ever seen.
Sincero describes our subconscious as the blueprint of our lives, made up of all the beliefs we’ve acquired throughout our lives. It guides our decisions, even though most of the time we aren’t even aware of its existence.
Another thing that holds us back is our own ego. Sincero calls the ego a false self, one that only exists to sabotage our happiness, and that is born of our own lack of self-worth. Our ego exists only to hold us back, filling our heads with self-doubt and fear that we aren’t good enough to achieve what we want out of life.
The good news is our beliefs aren’t set in stone. We are always learning and growing and changing, for better or worse, and we have the power to deliberately exact those changes. We have the power to be whoever we want to be and live whatever life we want to live. The only thing we really lack is confidence in ourselves!
How to be a badass
So, you’ve realized that your ego and subconscious are holding you back from being the best version of yourself, and you’re ready to start living like the badass you’ve always wanted to be. Where do you start? What is the secret to living a badass life?
Acknowledge that you already are a badass
Remember the movie The Wizard of Oz? Dorothy spends her whole adventure in Oz trying to get home, only to find out at the end that the power to go home was within her all along, she just needed to believe in herself. We all have that same power to be who we want and do what makes us happy, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. Believing in yourself is a radical act of self-love, but one that will completely change your life if you simply give it a chance.
Focus on what serves you and let go of everything—and everyone—else
An hour of Candy Crush or a third round of shots at happy hour with friends might sound fun at the time, but are these things really getting you where you want to go? Change takes time and energy, two resources in very limited supply for us, and so we must spend them wisely.
That sometimes means making unpleasant sacrifices, focusing on your own feelings instead of those of others, or even ending relationships that have become a toxic drain on your happiness.
No matter what. Don’t get caught up on the logistics of your goals, or you’ll become overwhelmed and paralyzed by your own fear. Just figure out what you want and start moving toward getting it.
The ultimate secret to being a badass is love: When you love yourself, surround yourself with people and things you love, and trust that other people also only want love and happiness, hate and self-doubt disappear.