What I Learned from Jen Sincero, Author of “You Are a Badass”
Her books get extremely mixed reviews — you either love her perky and sassy attitude, or you can’t stand her. I fall under the former camp, which I’ll explain as we go.
Her book, You Are a Badass, was my very first self-help book (*sheds tear*).
I listened to the audiobook version (narrated by the author) and loved it — it was like I had a no-BS bestie in my ear reminding me of all the things I can accomplish and that I was stupid for doubting myself. (That’s the kind of best friend we all hope for and aim to be, am I right?)
I have read several personal development/self-help books since, but keep coming back to this one. It’s like a cliff notes version of all the other books of this genre — it’s short, sweet, and to the point.
So without further ado, after having read two of her books — here are 10 things I learned from Jen Sincero (or Jen for short — we’re basically besties now, so I think we can be on a first-name basis, right?).
It’s Not Your Fault You’re Messed up, but It’s Your Fault If You Stay That Way
Life from this point forward is a choice. Jen argues that the life that you were born into and the mindset you grew up with is not your fault. It is, however, your fault if you choose to carry that for the rest of your life.
“Every system is perfectly designed for the results it gets.” — W. Edwards Deming
If something in your life is making you miserable, it’s your choice to leave it the way it is or to change it.
Once you’re aware of the fact that every single part of your life is the way it is due to a choice you made (whether it was a direct choice, indecision, or an attitude), it empowers you to choose a better reality today.
This is one of the points that I like and apply in my own life, but I agree with the criticism that it can’t be universally applied so nonchalantly. There are so many atrocities in the world happening to innocent people daily to truly believe that every single person’s life is a direct result of their own actions. Most of us, however, privileged enough to be reading this, can do well by applying this idea.
We Have a Set of Subconscious Beliefs That Often Hold Us Back
Everyone grew up differently. We all have different family dynamics, come from different socio-economic backgrounds, grew up in different parts of the world, etc.
No matter what your situation, the way you grew up impacted you on a level that you may not be aware exists in you to this day.
As children, we often take in what we see at face value — we don’t have a strong reasoning skill to categorize our thoughts. So if money was a constant struggle for your family as a child for example, (whether it caused fights, divorce, or denial of things you needed/wanted), you may have absorbed a subconscious belief that money=bad.
This belief, if never dealt with, hasn’t gone away and may impact your adult life, causing you to resent money and the fact that you need it — making it more likely that you’re financially insecure as an adult.
Don’t Take Financial Advice from Jen Sincero Too Literally
She tells stories of how ‘all she needed to see how powerful she was at making money was a mindset shift’ (to the tune of buying an Audi she couldn’t afford).
Ok, so I get the principle. If you truly believe you are capable and deserving of making big money, you’ll be able to do it much faster than if you wallowed in your sorrows and decided it will never happen for you.
Take the principle of the message — you are fully capable of living your best life. But please, don’t go buy an Audi you can’t afford.
Take the Word “Want” Out of Your Vocabulary
Look at the things you “want” and either decide to chase them, or let them go. Change your mindset from “I want to live a fulfilling life” to “I am choosing to live a fulfilling life.”
That simple shift takes it from a dream to an action plan.
It’s Really Hard to Make Money If You Hate Money
Jen says we should train ourselves to stop saying things like, “I hate money.” These sentiments put your head and mood in a really bad place to start making some.
When we say we hate money, it’s usually because we don’t have enough of it.
But we don’t really hate it — we would actually love to have more (please?). Changing the narrative in your head to something positive will put you in a better mindset to do something about it, like go out and make some. Treating money like it’s this evil villain in your life is training yourself to resist it, which is the opposite of what you want.
Look to Animals and Children for Inspiration
They live unapologetically in the moment.
My dog will freak out as much at my return after a 10-minute departure as she does with an 8-hour departure.
She’s completely living in the now. She’s ready to party — we’re here, we’re together, and this is awesome!
As Jen Sincero puts it, “They are in the moment. There is fun in the moment. End of story.”
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are
living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” — Lao Tzu
I think there’s a lot of joy we miss each day because we let our thoughts get carried away. This exact moment is the only one that actually exists. I try to remind myself of that when my thoughts run away.
Some of the Things We Invest Our Time in Are Stupid
We love to make incessant self-deprecating jokes and insist on repeat that we aren’t good enough, what a waste of energy!
While we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, Jen argues that if your go-to ice breaker is about how terrible you are at something, you should find a new schtick.
Every time you joke about how bad at remembering names you are, for example, you’re justifying and reinforcing that idea. You will forever be bad with names.
Be forgiving and gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to be the beginner — try investing your time in new things or try a new narrative on for size.
Be Grateful About Everything
This is the one that has impacted my life more than anything else.
First, taking time to be grateful for everything you have (even that annoying little voice inside your head that has blocked you from your dream life — it’s only trying to protect you after all!) will have you feeling like a rockstar.
There’s a positive way to look at almost everything, but it can take work. Start building that muscle.
Second, it’s possible and important to be grateful for the things you don’t yet have.
Let’s say you hate your job and are working a side-hustle to build your dream business, but you’re nowhere near ready to quit your day job.
Try thinking about how stinking awesome it’s going to feel when that day does come. Picture exactly what your life will look like and let yourself feel it. Then carry that feeling of gratitude and happiness with you now.
You’ll be much more motivated to get it together and your results will come much quicker.
Everything You Want in Life Already Exists
Your dream spouse, your dream job, your bazillions of dollars — it all already exists.
Your dream spouse is already out there, living his or her life, looking for you.
That future dream job is already out there, waiting for you to get there.
If you’re looking for wealth, that money already exists out there in the world. You just have to go get it.
While all of this is quite a bit more challenging than it sounds, there’s also something comforting about the simplicity of the fact that it’s true — it does already exist. The hardest part is done.
You Can Do Anything
While parents have been telling their kids this for generations, it’s true. Every one of us is here for a reason. We all have different passions, talents, hopes, fears, dreams, and perspectives to add to the world.
There’s no use in telling yourself you can’t do something.
Jen uses the dream of becoming a Broadway star as an example. Why do we talk ourselves out of going for dreams? Someone is out there doing it, living your dream life — why can’t it be you?
Even if you have full-blown proof you’re incapable of something, look at Henry Ford for inspiration. He had failed in two different companies (leaving one and dissolving the other). He lost his investors a lot of money. His own engineers came back to him time and time again to tell him his designs were impossible.
He had tons of proof that he was a failure at the very thing he was driven to do. Imagine if he had decided that was true.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill
This is in no way sponsored by Jen Sincero or her publisher (or anyone), I’m just a fan.
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