10 ways to increase your badass factor – a guide for real people

10 ways to increase your badass factor - a guide for real people

From embracing your inner oddball to wearing symbolic armour, how can you up your badassery as a REAL person?

Why is it that almost all the badass characters in film and TV seem to favour black coffee, minor vices and an antagonistic attitude? There has to be an easier way of projecting ‘don’t mess with me’!? That isn’t to say that if I had Jessica Jones’s abilities, there wouldn’t be a fair amount of whoop-ass (and I do tend to love the characters I’ve mentioned, no matter how dime-a-dozen they are).

BUT… as we are actual humans and can’t get away with punching random douchebags on a regular basis, here’s a guide for real people on how to increase your badass factor.

1) Wear armour.

You don’t have to walk around covered in metal and chainmail from top to toe (unless you want to). However, wearing a symbol of strength and protection that you can see when you look in the mirror can be a good reminder of your own personal power. And it’s lighter than a breastplate.


Here are some sellers of armour-inspired outfits and accessories:

2) Embrace the inner oddball.

I was the weird kid in school. As I grew older and tried to make friends with new people, I’d find myself agreeing with them on almost any topic for fear of being seen as ‘freaky’ (and therefore unlikeable). On the rare occasion I offered an alternative opinion, I’d preface it with a nervous giggle and “this is probably really strange but / totally guilty pleasure but / I know this is sooooo silly but…”

It took me a long time to realise it’s okay to have weird hobbies or eclectic taste in music. I found it’s easier to make friends when I have at least some interests or experiences that are different to everyone else’s. Sometimes it’s harder to get to know someone who listens to/watches/eats “oh, just anything really”?

LARP goblin

Mooky founder Magda enjoys LARPing as a goblin

Embrace your quirks and take pride in them. And no, those quirks don’t have to involve swordfighting or computer hacking. A person openly reading a Greek mythology book on the subway looks far more self-assured than a person reading the same book hidden in their copy of Cosmopolitan. I am embarrassed to admit I actually did this.

3) Know yourself (biblically).

Yes, I’m serious. Exploring to find out what you like is the first step to enjoyment and helping out a less experienced sex partner. Though times are changing, too few people are comfortable with what they look like ‘down there’, let alone what they’re into. If you haven’t already, get a mirror and get to know yourself.

knitted vagina

Created by MK Carroll with knitting pattern available.

For mooky parents: I never had the sex talk. I grew up with a mum who worked in the medical profession, which meant I got blush-free, straightforward answers to my questions about how things work and slowly learned all the facts over time rather than in one cringe-inducing brain-dump. While I won’t be having children, I like to think that my hypothetical children would have benefited from the example my mum set for me. Taking shame and embarrassment away from sex meant that when I began ‘doing the wild thing’, I was educated and safe.

Being comfortable with your own body has another very serious benefit: if something goes wrong, being able to tell a doctor “my breasts don’t feel right and I’m concerned” or “I’m worried about an STI” takes a huge weight off your mind. Having concerns about your body is bad enough but being scared to discuss your own bits and pieces with a professional just adds to the stress.

Having undergone surgery on my fallopian tubes recently, I realised just how much my experiences of nude modelling had benefited me in terms of feeling comfortable with my body. The hospital was scary enough, but being nearly naked in front of the doctor didn’t register on my ‘eek’ scale.

4) Instead of ‘to do’ lists, make ‘done’ lists

I only discovered this one recently but it makes so much sense! “To do” lists always take up more time than you think. If they’re full of little errands as well as projects, by the time it’s 10pm there are usually tasks left undone – even without some world-class procrastinating. Many things can slip your mind and leave you wondering where your time went (and if you’re like me, you’re left feeling incompetent).

For example, cooking a lovely meal from scratch doesn’t just involve the time it takes to cook. It can take 30 minutes preparation time, then eating time on top of that, and it’s easy to think that a few small errands in town to get the ingredients will take an hour but getting to town, walking around the shops and queuing up all take time as well.

I’ve started approaching my tasks differently. Each evening, I make a list of no more than four things to do the next day, with one task prioritised. I also make a ‘done’ list that I add things to as I complete them. My ‘done’ list includes meals I’ve made, travelling I’ve done, catching up with a friend – even having a shower and shaving my legs as well as the tasks I listed.

Try it – you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve actually done in a day!

Note to Spoonies: I’m not a Spoonie myself, but have heard from a few friends that this has helped with bad days. One friend’s ‘bad day’ list simply contains eating, brushing her teeth and making a list of three nice things in her life. If she’s done those things, that’s three achievements each day.

5) Get a tool kit and learn how to use it

I live on a boat, which means I don’t have mains gas. I have to buy and change my own canisters if I want to be able to heat water or cook. These are heavy and the fastenings get stiff after a while. I’ve been advised in the past to “just get a man to help you” even though I’m physically fit. Both the situation and the advice can be frustrating!

One day, while fighting with an obnoxiously rusty canister, I was tired to the point of tears. There was nobody around to help me so I looked for advice on YouTube, borrowed a tool kit from the marina office and used a wrench to get more leverage. It was still not an easy task but eventually I stomped proudly down the jetty like Rosie the Riveter with wrench in one hand and gas canister in the other before heading out to buy a tool kit of my own!

It is a very empowering thing to be able to put up your own shelves, change your own light bulbs and open your own obnoxiously rusty containers! Also, if you are into arts and crafts, tool kits have many, many uses when making things.

6) Try new things

Trying something new – whether that’s a food, a place or something extreme like skydiving – has definitely helped me deal with life when things gets unpredictable and don’t have the outcome I expected. You don’t even have to leave the house – if something exists then there’s probably a Facebook community dedicated to it! In fact I recently attended a meetup for fans of post-apocalyptic films, which began as a group on Facebook, and I came away with some new friends.

Even if you’re nervous or unsure, getting the guts to try something anyway is just as brave as not being afraid in the first place. More, maybe. Sometimes it’s not confidence, it’s courage.

7) Teach yourself something

Skills are badass. It doesn’t matter what you want to learn or how you learn it. Whether it’s a language, a craft, martial arts or basic (or advanced) accounting, it’s a really good feeling learning to do something that not everyone can do. There are tutorials and videos that teach almost anything on Youtube. If you’re prone to procrastination, it’s a fun way of putting off any work you’re supposed to be doing! (And you can add something like “learned the colours in Spanish” to your ‘done’ list.)

8) Learn to cook

I know the last point involved learning but cooking requires its own section. If and when the zombie apocalypse comes, those who can cook have a very strong advantage over those who can’t! It’s probably the most important skill in terms of being self-sufficient. If you’re short of money, home cooking is generally far cheaper than going out to eat. It helps save money, which in turn helps take care of you. There is no reason not to learn to cook. You can head over to Mookychick’s recipes section for ideas.

An added bonus: in general, I’ve found it’s a good way to impress a date if you can make them dinner!

9) Lose the ‘sorry’.

This may well be an English person problem but… we’re always saying ‘sorry’. Sorry, my sleeve accidentally touched your hand on the bus. Sorry, I tripped over your giant foot in the supermarket. Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with your marketing strategy in the office boardroom.

I used to live with somebody who prefaced formal phone calls with the words “sorry to bother you”. Even if it was to ask a quote for building work, to make a dentist appointment, or to lodge a complaint. It was so ingrained in her ‘phone script’ that it didn’t register with her, but it set my teeth on edge as it immediately undermined her next words, no matter what they were going to be.

We say sorry so much that we don’t realise we’re doing it and it needs to stop. This is especially relevant to women as we are taught on a regular basis to efface ourselves so we aren’t seen as bossy, or to soften our opinion by apologising first. Apologise no more!

Confidence is badass. If you always apologise before voicing an opinion, it makes you (and your opinion) appear weaker. Even if you don’t feel confident, fake it until you make it.

10) Only absorb the things which make you stronger

Aim to stop spending time on things that simply make you sad or angry without giving you any benefit. The news is educational, even when it’s bad. However, hate-reading articles about celebrities you despise only serves to piss you off. It’s a really hard thing to re-order your thoughts but aim to work on an alternative to fighting imaginary arguments in your head (I thought it was just me!!) unless you are preparing for an actual debate.

If something you are spending time on is merely making you angry or upset, stop. It has no place in your life unless it makes you stronger, because strength is badass.