So, how was your 2013? Did you build great relationships and do awesome things? If you did, then this article is not for you. If, however, you did nothing exciting in 2013, then it’s time to read on.
Every year we’re told the same things, we establish the same goals. We try to lose the same amount of weight, aspire to the same boring stuff. Forget about boring stuff. Forget about boring goals. I want you to be a badass in 2014. I’m talking about being a total badass, the rightful owner of your future. At the end of the day, if you don’t create your future, someone else will, and usually what others have envisioned for you isn’t all that great.
So here are the five simple steps to becoming a total badass in 2014.
1. Make a list of all the toxic people in your life. Then eliminate them. Get a pen and a paper. Now write down the names of your 10 or 20 closest friends. Think about the contribution of each one of those friends to your life. Are they adding value? Are they being good friends? Are they encouraging you to pursue lofty goals? Or are they simply discouraging you from pursuing your dreams? If the former, please keep them. If the latter – which, believe you me, is the norm – eliminate them at once. Delete them from your Facebook right now. Delete them from your life. You say, “But, Pedro, you don’t understand.” You are right, I don’t. And I don’t care. Stop making excuses. They have already drained too much productive energy from you with their toxic personalities and problems. Now it’s time for you to shine. And no, you won’t be lonely. Once you cut those people from your life, you’ll make room for great people to show up. You attract what you are. Be the person you’d wish to have by your side.
Remember what they say, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
2. Put yourself in a ridiculously uncomfortable situation. In 2005, at the age of 15, I came to the United States without being able to speak a single word of English. Really, not a single word. At school, someone had the bright idea of placing me in an advanced English class. Even though I had no idea what was going on, the simple act of being there, uncomfortably there, made all the difference. I was forced to grow. If I didn’t learn English fast, I was going to flunk. So I got to work.
That’s key for a badass 2014. Imagine the craziest, most uncomfortable situation ever. Now put yourself into it. I don’t know, maybe it’s going to Senegal and living with a local tribe for a few months. I don’t know. These are just examples. Find out what works for you, and just do it.
3. Do less of something and learn how to say no. Have you noticed how people want to spend your time more than you do? There is always a new request, always something else to do. Something, by the way, that will contribute nothing to your well-being. If you want 2014 to be a badass year, you will have to learn how to say no to all sorts of requests. Family, friends, colleagues, whatever. Say yes to what’s important to you. I am not saying that you shouldn’t help others. Quite on the contrary, you should, but you should only do the things, and favors, that will not leave you in anger, regretting afterwards.
Say no until your tongue bleeds. But say it nicely. Educate those around you on what your limits are. If you don’t, their limits will become yours.
4. Don’t wait for someone to pick you. Most people go through life doing exactly what’s expected of them, and waiting for people to pick them for things – for a job, for a promotion, for a good grade, for a spouse, the list goes on. If you are waiting for that, I have bad news for you. No one is going to pick you. No one is going to give you an envelope with a million dollars in it. No one is going to say, “wow, what a great office manager you are. Here, takes these keys. You deserve a new car!” No one is going to pick you. So what do you do? You pick yourself. You choose yourself. You give yourself permission to dream huge dreams and to pursue them. Great accomplishments are the result of relentless pursuit.
Focus on your health, on the blessings you have already received, and will receive. Act as if you already had the things you want. Don’t be afraid to do what makes you happy. Give yourself permission by picking you.
The world makes way for the man [and woman] who knows where he [or she] is going.” – R. W. Emerson
5. Relax, but not really. One of the most powerful quotes I have ever read comes from the great Kafka. In Metamorphosis, he writes, “I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.”
Doesn’t it summarize our attitude towards life? We’re chained by our habits, often bad, habits, and when someone points that out to us, we immediately get defensive and angry. We say things like: “Who are you to call me lazy?” In sum, all you are saying is: “Please, don’t touch my chains, mister. I’m too busy watching TV.”
If that weren’t enough, our brains also don’t help. Our rational brains are lazy and wired to avoid uncomfortable situations. A lofty goal is uncomfortable. To achieve it, you will have to drastically change your routine. You will have to get up earlier. You will have to stay away from toxic people. You will have to make phone calls to strange people. You will have to ignore the naysayers. You will have to do a heck lot of work. Your brain hates that. Your brain hates change. Your brain hates breaking away from its routine. It has layers and layers of defense mechanisms and reasons why anything that is not ordinary will fail. If your brain could dictate how you lived your life, you would probably spend all day in bed, sleeping.
Get up. There’s more to life than being afraid.
When you do get up – and decide to have a badass 2014 – know that people you didn’t even know existed will come out of the woodwork and try to discourage you. Your friends who are without jobs will not want you to have a great career. That’s how they express their insecurities: by trashing your acts of change and creation. Ignore them. On the other hand, if you are the one hating on your friend’s success, stop. Be happy for them. That’s the only way to attract good things to your life.
You’re greater than your habits. Don’t underestimate yourself. In doubt, say “to hell with it,” and just do it.
Breathe. Breathe again. Breathe deep. And now relax. In the end, everything will be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.
Have a badass 2014.
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