Motivational Nonfiction Recommendations

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Though this was my second time to listen to this audiobook, as soon as its credits rolled, I had the urge to rewind to the start and listen to it all over again. Somehow, just the act of consuming a book designed to motivate you is motivation itself, and I spent this past week with a big, goofy smile on my face, optimistic about my future and – perhaps even more amazingly – happy with my here and now.

The message of this book is right there in the full title – You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. In it, author Jen Sincero provides insight into why we humans self-sabotage and prevent ourselves from living our fullest, richest, best lives and then gives detailed advice on how to turn the train around. It’s full of hard truths and tough love, but Sincero has a way of delivering these nuggets of advice so you feel uplifted and optimistic rather than intimidated or threatened.

Perhaps the most effective way to elucidate the content of this book is to share the changes I’ve made in my own life because of it. Now, I’ve spent a lot of brain space this year thinking about how to fulfill my potential and live my best life, so to act as if my shift in attitude is completely, one hundred percent because of this book would be misleading. But who cares? These pearls of wisdom are no duller simply because I was looking for them.

One of Sincero’s main arguments is that our attitude toward situations largely impacts those situations’ outcomes. If, for example, you say you’re bad with money, you will continue to let managing your bank account flummox you. But, if you shift your outlook to believe you’re great with money, you’re more likely to give yourself a chance to effectively manage your accounts. I happen to be one of those people who has always believed managing money was beyond me. Somewhere deep in my DNA, I believed that I didn’t deserve to be paid competitive pricing, that I was terrible with keeping track of bills, blah blah blah. This is all bullshit. I’m an educated woman with a brain. It’s not rocket science. It was an excuse to hand the management over to my husband so I could paint my nails and write a novel without having to worry about anything as pesky as our financial security.

After a few days into You Are a Badass, I found my monthly healthcare bill in my mailbox. Typically, I leave this on the kitchen counter for days, until the moment I start to think my healthcare provider has probably dropped me (this has happened). Then I open the dreaded envelope in a sweaty panic only to find out I have mere hours to pay. But this month, I plucked the bill happily from the box, opened it then and there, and waltzed upstairs to pay it with weeks to spare, saving myself the agony of guilty procrastination and probably a sizable late fee. Thank you, Jen.

Sincero also says people put off living their dream life until some vague date in the future when they have more money, more time, and – again – blah blah blah. Why not live the life you want now? You only have the one. I’ve always harbored a little fantasy that one day I’ll have enough time and money to spend on expanding my style. I’m no Coco Chanel, but I do want to take risks with fashion and wear clothes that make me feel good and smart and inherently me. I thought, in short, I’d one day like to be the kind of girl who might wear bright pink lipstick if I felt like it. But I would never wear it now. That would be crazy. That would be out of my comfort zone. People might (gasp!) judge me. This book helped me realize that if I want to be that person in the future, I have to be that person right now. So I wore pink lipstick. And you know what? It was great. And also, nobody gave a shit let alone judged me for it.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Sincero says we humans are constantly sending out messages to the Universe about who we are and what we want. (If you think this is a bit woo woo, just give it a chance. She explains it beautifully.) If you are constantly miserable, you attract misery. If you constantly show the world that you don’t want success – staying in a job you hate, dating people who are no good for you, eating food that makes you unhealthy – the world will listen. But if you show the world you are ready for success – taking risks, facing your fears, working toward your dream life – the world will also listen.

I realized, after reading this book that I have been afraid of success as a writer. Because if I succeed,  it would mean spending time marketing, networking with strangers, speaking in front of groups. In my avoidance of these things, I’ve been showing the Universe that I’m not ready to move beyond my comfort zone, not ready for success. So I’m not letting fears run my life anymore. After all, it’s my life, dammit!  To combat my trepidation of public speaking, I’ve joined Toastmasters, the international organization for public speaking. I’ve also accepted a position as a creative writing teacher this summer, which will kick off whether I’m nervous about it or not. I’m taking risks, and in doing so, I’m telling the world I’m ready for success no matter what scary things it may bring.

If any of these changes resonate with you, I highly recommend this book. I hope it helps you make leaps and bounds. Because after all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.



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