What is a badass? It can be a little bit of a polarizing question.
The definition of badass is not something that can be universally agreed upon.
Some people will believe it to mean a person who rides a motorcycle, sleeps with a lot of women and lives a Hugh Hefner lifestyle. Others see it as a person who is very secure, confident, assertive and lives life by their own rules.
The latter is my preferred answer to the question "what is a badass?" There is a definition from Urban Dictonary that I like:
1. Adjective: Used to describe one who totally owns who he/she is, is uninhibited in who they are and doesn't let what other people think affect his/her actions/decisions.
2. Noun: A person who is the best of the best at what they do professionally and/or personally. Being a Badass goes hand-in-hand with being self confident, secure and uninhibited.
Another definition from Urban Dictionary explains what a badass is not:
A badass isn't someone wears ripped leather jackets, a badass isn't someone who breaks stuff to look tough, and a badass isn't someone who fights for the fun of fighting. That's the definition of a poser.
Choosing this word for the name of my site means it can be opened up to misinterpretation. It's an imperfect word in the imperfect English language. But I'm okay with that. Anybody who spends just a little bit of time here will quickly realize that I am not trying to teach people to live a playboy lifestyle.
I am encouraging men to consciously work on their personal development, to be true to themselves, to claim their masculinity and their autonomy.
It is true that being badass is not something you can claim to be. I do not claim it for myself nor call myself a badass. Humility is a virtue I value a lot. I merely try and hold myself to my own ideals of claiming my masculinity and my autonomy.
Being badass is something that can only be bestowed upon you by others. Not that you should not engage in personal development because you seek approval or validation from others. You should do it in order to be the best that you can be.
However if you are self confident, secure and assertive and you live life consciously by your own rules then naturally you will appear as unique and different to the vast majority who suffer under the burdens of society and live out someone else's dream.
Badass is used in the context of being someone totally at ease and comfortable within their own skin. Someone assertive who is unfraid to express and chase his desires in life. Yet someone respectful and humble. Someone content with their life. Someone who demonstrates leadership.
Not an obnoxious dickhead as wannabe playboys often are.
Manliness is about autonomy. Anthropologists studying manilness is various cultures say the common thread amongst them all is the need for autonomy. But the different cultures express this in different ways.
In the modern day we each need to express our autonomy in different ways. We need to find our own niche. But at the same time we cannot sit idly by. You must actively claim your autonomy and your masculinity. This is what I see as badass. Somebody who is willing to do this.
Mark Manson of Post Masculine has some excellent quotes which reflect similar ideas and gives an excellent answer to the question "what is a badass?"
"An idea of masculinity that includes conventional masculinism (dominance, achievement, sexual pursuit), but is not confined by social roles or expectations. One man's right of passage may be building his own boat and sailing across Lake Michigan. Another man's rite of passage may be writing and publishing a novel. Another man's may be living in on a beach in Cuba and volunteering with starving children. The common denominator is that we set out to establish ourselves as emotionally independent through our actions. The common denominator is taking action as individuals.
Postmasculine is unconventional. It teaches a radical form of life improvement for men. Our metrics for success are not sex, money, status or good looks. Our metrics are happiness, growth, and significance. Accomplish these and the sex, money, and status occur as a side-effect.
Our strategies for achieving this success don't involve tactics, lines, or hacks. Our strategies involve facing and confronting our own emotions, values and beliefs to create real permanent change."