root

The Root Philosophy

If you only ever remember two of these rules... these are the ones.

Seriously, you can boil it down to this. If there were only two rules to being a badass, these would be the two rules. I mean, the rest are important in the grand scheme of things, but to put it in a nutshell? Once you get BAD, turning that into being a badass really boils down to these two things.

You remember we talked about putting your ASS into it. You recall the A in that stands for Action. And we've talked a little about that, but here's a critical point of that action.

Badasses prefer doing their own things.

A badass does not look around and say "I had better find someone else to copy." That's lizard-brain shit. A badass does not say "that guy is doing well, I will do what he is doing." That's dog-brain shit. A badass, instead, does the thing that he wants to do.

Did someone else do it first? I don't care. Is that other guy doing it? I don't care. Does someone else do it better? I don't care. This is what I want to do, and that is why I am doing it. I don't have to be the first, or the only, or even the best. I just have to be damn good. And I am, because I'm a badass.

Which takes us to the penultimate rule of the Badass Manifesto:

Badasses know why they do things.

This is where you evolve from a monkey to a man. Monkeys are certainly creative. But they don't assemble things into a consistent, reproducible System. You can monkey-brain your way through most of the problems you encounter, but once you engage your man-brain, you can establish a system that avoids those problems altogether.

The first time you hit it, you have no choice but to monkey-brain your way through it. When you're writing something and your pencil breaks, you go sharpen it. But the next time you need to write something, maybe you bring an extra pencil. Or you use a pen.

You were just as badass with one pencil. You brought it because you had to write something. You sharpened it because it broke. That's perfectly fine. You just had to monkey-brain a solution. But next time, you man-brain a solution and do it a little differently. Now you bring two pencils because one of them might break. Or you bring a pen, because it won't break at all.

And when you choose one of those, you will have a reason to choose that one. Why bring two pencils instead of a pen? Well, if you're taking a standardised test that needs a #2 pencil, you can't bring a pen.

Your actions begin to be interconnected. They start to flow. You make choices not based on the immediate current situation, but on the basis of what you have just done and what you need to do next. Everything you do starts to take into account what you need to do next and where you need to do it.

And that's where the magic happens. It's where you start to just be where you need to be. It's the part where you finish mixing the batter, pour it into the pan, and the oven dings to let you know it's preheated. You put the cake in the oven, set the timer, and pull the mashed potatoes off the burner at the perfect time. Dropping the spinach into the microwave to heat, you plate the potatoes just in time for the microwave to go off, transfer the now-hot spinach to the plate, and add the perfectly medium-rare steaks from the grill.

After eating, you'll excuse yourself to take the plates to the kitchen at exactly the right time to pull the brownies from the oven, and return to the table just long enough for the brownies to cool before you offer dessert - then assemble and serve a pair of sundaes on still-warm brownies.

To the casual observer, this is fucking wizardry. It's like the world has conspired to make you successful. And that's why bullshit ideas like "The Secret" and the law of attraction continue to entice people - they don't understand the difference. It's like nothing goes wrong for you. Every woman you talk to wants to date you. Every man you talk to wants to be you. You can have whatever job you want, easy. All the things that are hard for other people become easy for you.

Because you understand systems. Not the system - just systems. And you may as well be a fucking superhero.

Tomorrow we'll cover the final step, which is not so much a rule as a basic fact. Something of which you need to be aware, because it's something every superhero needs.