Saturday, January 27, 2018

It's Possible I'm a Dingus: A Review of Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass”



I am capable of really poetic, beautiful sentiments. Supportive of other women, encouraging to all. A nice person.

Except when I see a self-help book titled “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” and on the back is a photo of what appears to be a glowing 27-year-old wearing lip gloss, cheeks abundantly funded with circulation because she is young and optimistic and has never, ever had anything bad happen to her in her life. So why would I take her thoughts on self-development seriously? Life will crush her one day and then we’ll see what kind of perky mantra she comes up with for it. AH HAHAHAHA!

I’d normally keep nice thoughts like that to myself, but there *is* a punchline here.  
As I began reading, Jen Sincero quickly drew me in with humor. This lady is genuinely funny, and she is filling the niche of self-help for people who don’t like boring, unamusing books that cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Her principles are, on the surface, potentially generic. Love yourself. Believe. Make the jump before you can see the landing pad. Vibrate at a higher frequency. But as I began to do some of the exercises she suggested, as I began writing down my worst self-deprecating thoughts and then inverting them into affirmations, as I put some thought into how I keep myself down, and (wait for it) began BELIEVING that life could be different…well, I really started to get into the book, appreciate Jen Sincero’s point of view, and will probably buy this book as a gift for my friends (just as a loved-one gifted it to me).

I began to forgive her for what I was sure were Millennial one-liners, chapter titles like “Fear is for Suckers” and “Lead With Your Crotch.” I started to look forward to the ending line of each chapter: Love yourself. It’s not anything new, but it’s a biggy, and everyone needs to be reminded of it, no matter how together their life is.

The book is not a doctoral thesis. It has 253 pages of very readable prose, and you can easily skip around, thumb through, open the book randomly and let your eyes land on one of the many bolded statements that will give you pause. The biggest one for me, in the entirety of the book, was this: 

So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision,
when what we’ve really done is
signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.”

She is challenging us to get those crazy warrior eyes, stoke the fire of pure determination, and hit the gas pedal. But she does it with humor, and in a way that does not seem overly macho…like Tony Robbins in a cardigan, without the testes or the helicopter. Total commitment would be another way to say it. She is challenging us to bring total commitment to the things we’d like to create. 

The punchline to this review is: That 27-year old with the lip gloss and the glowy cheeks who cannot possibly have experienced anything in life? It turns out, she's my age. And I'm no spring chicken. Yeah, I feel like a dingus. If you visit her website, you’ll see she has her share of laugh lines, and by her own admission, was still feeling like a pretty big failure when she was forty, struggling with money, and living in a garage. Now she has three books out, one of which is a New York Times bestseller. 

Why do I tell you this? Don’t let the cheery yellow cover or the glowy cheeks, or even the use of “Awesome” in the title stop you from taking this book seriously. There’s a lot of wisdom in it, and you will only profit by spending some time in Jen Sincero’s mindset. I recommend it as an engaging, humorous, encouraging read that will leave you energized and ready to get going on that dream life you always wanted.

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