You hear the word a lot, and you wouldn’t mind at all if someone used it to describe you.
But the question remains: exactly what is a badass?
And why is being a badass something you should aspire to?
More to the point, what if you don’t feel like a badass, but you’d still like to be one?
Welcome to the ultimate guide on badassery, its risks, and its benefits.
Read on to learn how to be a badass in every area of your life, whatever challenges you might face.
- What Makes Someone a Badass?
- How To Look Badass
- How to be a Badass: 21 Mindsets and Actions
- 1. Be true to yourself.
- 2. Ask yourself the hard questions.
- 3. Identify and defend your truth.
- 4. Share your truth with the world.
- 5. Prioritize finding your purpose in life.
- 6. Set audacious goals for yourself — and go after them with all you’ve got.
- 7. Practice gratitude and mindfulness every day.
- 8. Support and fight for causes you believe in.
- 9. Describe in rich detail the life you want for yourself.
- 10. Describe your perfect day as a badass.
- 11. Know your strengths.
- 12. Know your weaknesses.
- 13. Cultivate mental strength.
- 14. Cultivate healthy self-confidence.
- 15. Get your life in order.
- 16. Focus on your biggest priorities.
- 17. Focus on ONE important thing at a time.
- 18. Learn how to refocus when life pulls you in different directions.
- 19. If you don’t see a way forward, make one.
- 20. Know when to say “No.”
- 21. Keep going, even when it seems impossible.
- Ready to be a badass?
What Makes Someone a Badass?
Learning how to be a badass girl (or a badass of any kind) helps you become everything you were born to be, putting your unique strengths and vision to work to make the world better.
As you discover your inner badass, you’ll see some or all of the following traits in yourself:
- You see obstacles as opportunities to learn and to grow.
- You don’t waste time on complaints or judgments.
- You don’t compare yourself to others (favorably or unfavorably).
- You create your own unique style and wear what you like.
- You treat others as equals — not as obstacles or competition.
Keep in mind, too, that what makes you a badass can also make you a target for people who want you to meet their self-centered expectations of others. If you look, sound, or act too different from those ideals, they’ll likely respond with negative criticism and judgment.
As a badass, though, you recognize their opinion of you isn’t really about you. So, you don’t dwell on it. You’ve got better uses for your headspace and energy.
How To Look Badass
Fashion is so much more than “looking good.” It’s also about attitude and expression. In many ways, our wardrobes give clues about our personalities and outlook. So if you want to look like a badass, what should you wear?
We’ve got four tips:
- Wear Black from Top to Bottom: There’s something about a monochromatic onyx look that makes people step back and take notice. Add a pop of color to keep things interesting.
- Highlight Your Best Features: Dress to favor your best features. For example, if you have killer legs, go with shorts or skirts that hit above the knee and pair them with clunky shoes. If you have a voluptuous chest, pick out some tasteful v-necks and enhance the look with a supportive bra. But remember, there’s a thin line between “badass” and “uncomfortably brassy.”
- Wear Headgear: Once upon a gentile time, everyone wore hats. But these days, it’s less common (unless you’re at a formal British event). So donning the perfect chapeau lets people know you march to the beat of your own drummer — and what’s more badass than that!?
- Pair Printed Ts, Leather, and Denim: Associated with cowboys and bikers alike, denim and leather are the original “badass” fabrics. Pair them with “statement t-shirts” to leave a strong impression.
How to be a Badass: 21 Mindsets and Actions
Look through the following 21 badass mindsets and actions to see which ones you’ve already begun to make part of your life — and which ones still await you.
1. Be true to yourself.
Don’t try to be what other people expect you to be. Love the person you are, and make it your goal to learn all you need to learn to grow into the person you want to be.
Badasses don’t apologize for who they are or for not meeting someone else’s expectations, which they know have nothing to do with them. They don’t need the validation of others to honor their true selves and let them shine.
2. Ask yourself the hard questions.
Being a badass means asking the hard questions you need to ask to truly know yourself and to see what areas still need attention:
- Is there anyone in your life with whom you’re not completely honest?
- In what ways are you hiding (or editing) your true self?
- Where are you compromising or downplaying your core values?
The badass isn’t afraid to get to the core of who she is and who she wants to be.
3. Identify and defend your truth.
The following exercises can help you get clear on who you are and what matters most to you:
- Look through a list of values and identify those that resonate with you.
- Think about when you’ve felt happiest or most like yourself.
- Think about when you’ve felt fake or inauthentic.
Ever put on an act to please someone else? What values did you have to downplay or even compromise to keep the peace? And how will you do things differently now?
4. Share your truth with the world.
Find a public platform that suits you — a blog, vlog, social media platform, etc. — and share your true self with the world. With a blog, you can share stories about what you’re learning, what you’re doing, and what you want to do.
Think about how your experiences might help others feel less alone, even if those same stories might expose you to criticism.
5. Prioritize finding your purpose in life.
Write a personal mission statement and keep it where you’ll see it every day and throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing.
A short mission statement is easy enough to remember and repeat to yourself when you’re feeling foggy or lost.
Repeating it (out loud or in your mind) should give you a fresh burst of energy. Because it reminds you of who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish.
6. Set audacious goals for yourself — and go after them with all you’ve got.
The badass sets goals for herself that would make the average person squirm a bit or say things like, “You just gotta be extra, don’t you?” The short answer is “Yes.”
Set goals that scare you a little and make you wonder just how you’re going to get there. You trust that it’s possible for you, even if it’s far beyond where you are right now.
With those goals in mind, you take purposeful action every day to get closer to them.
7. Practice gratitude and mindfulness every day.
The badass doesn’t waste time grieving over lost time or opportunities. They focus on the present, on what they have, and on what they can do now.
The more grateful you are for the good in your life, the more badass you become. So get used to saying the words “Thank you” every day and throughout the day.
And don’t forget to express gratitude for the person you are now.
8. Support and fight for causes you believe in.
Put your money and your time where your values lead you. One way to express gratitude for your money is to share it with those who have less and support causes you believe in.
You can also show support by joining in protests, advertising worthy causes with signs or stickers, or doing something to show solidarity or make your support obvious.
9. Describe in rich detail the life you want for yourself.
Write about the life you want — not just in general terms but in rich, glorious detail. Imagine yourself living that life in the present and describe what you see.
If it helps, tackle one part of your life at a time, using this list to help you keep track:
- Professional Life and Income
- People / Relationships
- Home & Neighborhood
- Health, Fitness, and Self-Care
- Education / Enrichment
- Spiritual Life & Practices
10. Describe your perfect day as a badass.
Describe in writing how your perfect morning looks from start to finish — from your morning rituals, your meals and downtime and the people you share them with, the work you do, the challenges you face and how you face them, all the way to your nighttime rituals and the last thing you do.
With a clear vision of your perfect day, you can make changes to your daily routines to get closer to that ideal.
11. Know your strengths.
Don’t minimize your strengths. A badass knows what she’s good at, and she doesn’t let those strengths rest idly in her. She puts them to use in a way that benefits not only her but the people she cares about.
She doesn’t waste time pretending her strengths are “no big deal.” She sees their value and spends time and energy learning how to make the most of them.
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12. Know your weaknesses.
Badasses aren’t perfect, and they know it. Acknowledging your weaknesses makes it easier for you to see how others’ strengths can help you get a better result.
The badass doesn’t feel the need to do everything perfectly all by herself. She sees the value in another person’s strength and helps them see it, too.
13. Cultivate mental strength.
Take a close look at where you are and where you want to be. To get closer to the latter, you’ll need to acknowledge the following honestly:
- What is holding you back?
- What are you holding onto that isn’t serving you?
- What will it take to get to where you want to be?
The badass cultivates self-discipline because they value their goals more than being comfortable.
14. Cultivate healthy self-confidence.
Don’t waste time on negative self-talk or false humility. Badassery and authentic self-confidence go hand-in-hand.
Real confidence goes deeper than your outfit or a fake-it-til-you-make-it bravado.
It’s about knowing your value, knowing your strengths, and knowing you have as much right as anyone to make your voice heard and explore your potential to its utmost end.
15. Get your life in order.
By that, we mean get your priorities in the right order. Put the most important things first. It’s one thing to list your priorities in order of importance; it’s another and much more difficult thing to live in a way that reflects that order.
It means letting go of things that take time away from more important things, so your life and how you spend your time shows what you value most.
16. Focus on your biggest priorities.
Once you’ve listed your priorities in order of importance, make a list of everything you do each day. Underline the things that honor one of the top three priorities, and circle those that honor one of the bottom three.
We’re not saying you can never spend time watching TV. But giving your top priorities due attention might mean changing how you spend much of your time.
17. Focus on ONE important thing at a time.
Important as it is to focus on the most important things and to devote more of your time to them, you can only give one thing at a time your full attention.
Multi-tasking is not a badass virtue; it’s a recipe for disaster (or, at best, mediocre results).
Do one thing at a time, and do it well. Give it as much concentration as you can muster, and treat it like it’s the last thing you’ll be remembered for.
18. Learn how to refocus when life pulls you in different directions.
If you’re not clear on what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to do that, you’re far more likely to let your focus wander to one of the shiny, new alternatives life may offer.
Even when you do know what you want, you might wander a bit, so you need to know how to recognize those distractions for what they are, cut yourself some slack (for being human), and get your focus back where it belongs.
19. If you don’t see a way forward, make one.
The badass keeps the big picture in mind and knows where she wants to go. But sometimes, the lay of the land doesn’t match her internal guidance system.
When the path you’re on leads you to a wall, look for a way through it. And if you don’t see a way open to you — and your goal is on the other side of it — find a way to make one.
20. Know when to say “No.”
Since you know your priorities and how you want to spend your time, it’s easier to recognize offers and invitations that aren’t aligned with those priorities.
When you know honoring your priorities will lead to the best outcome, not only for you but for the people you love, it makes it easier to say “No” to distractions.
21. Keep going, even when it seems impossible.
When life knocks you down or pulls the rug out from under you (it happens, even to badasses), don’t waste time looking for someone to blame or to punish for your fall.
Just get back up. Then focus on taking another single step forward, and then another.
Don’t worry about how quickly you’re moving or how much you have to show for it. Just keep moving in the direction you want to go.
Ready to be a badass?
Now that you know how to be a badass, which of the steps described above have you already taken or started? Which of them have you found most challenging?
You’re not alone in finding that the way of the badass is a hard one. It’s not for those who are afraid of taking risks or getting hurt. You already knew that, though. You’re no stranger to suffering, humiliation, or to hardship.
The only thing you’re afraid of is allowing yourself to settle for less than you can do.