Drinking to all hours of the night and getting into bar fights may have made you feel like a badass in college, but you're in the real world now and being a true badass means living up to a new set of expectations.
By David Plough
As we all know life is different after you get out of college. No longer is staying up until 6am shooting J.D. and chasing it with Natty Light a Tuesday activity. Thirsty Thursdays get replaced with 30 Rock and The Office. Actually, about the only constant from college to real life is NFL Sundays.
Part of making this transition is realizing what it now means to be a “badass.” In your younger days it meant you could handle any situation with a shot of tequila, a solid right cross, and a trickle of blood on your brow. As you get older your situation progresses and you get to a point where that is no longer the way to handle your business. This isn't to say you have to stop being a badass, it just means the definition of the word has changed for you.
The older you get the more being a badass means being able to protect yourself and those important to you. It means being able to provide in rough times and being able to make your situations work for you. Is this to say there isn't a time to break out that right cross? No, this is just to say the right cross is no longer your number one option.
To be an older badass the mental game has to be sharp and your physical self needs to be ready. In the real world you need to know current events and be able to hold meaningful conversations with people. Sports are the great equalizer for a lot of men, and if you're a sports guy you can get in with a lot of people you wouldn't otherwise have a chance to talk with (See the story of Hunter S. Thompson going for a ride with Richard Nixon because Nixon wanted to talk football with someone), but sports alone are not enough. You need to be versed in politics, business, current events, the arts (I include film and music in this), and pretty much anything that isn't covered on TMZ. For the record, reading the Harry Potter books to appease your girlfriend doesn't count as literature.
While you age you will notice, the guy who wins discussions or arguments does it with quick wit and knowledge, and he is considered a badass. Times will arise when the wit and knowledge will only cause escalation to a situation. There are the times when the physical needs to be on par with the mental game.
You have to have your physical self in shape to fully reach badassedness. No matter how hard you try, sooner or later you are going to run into someone who needs a good old fashion whooping. You need to know how to defend yourself and be able to execute. There are a lot of ways to get into shape and a lot of ways to defend yourself. I would suggest going into some type of training. Whether it is karate, boxing or Ju-Jitsu, doing something like that not only teaches you proper technique on how to defend yourself, but it sets goals for you to hit. It will keep you moving and increases your overall health. Most importantly, doing things like that allow you to become accustom to uncomfortable situations. Any karate dojo, jiu-jitsu school, or boxing trainer worth while will put you in sparring situations where you will get hit, you'll get beat, and you will get better for it. This training allows you to keep your cool when presented with real life situations.
Holding a discussion and winning a fight are great things, but are they things you can do outside of your comfort zone? If you are on a business trip and out with people for a drink, can you state your opinion with confidence or win an argument in a civilized manor? The defining factor of being a badass, the thing that really sets the young and old apart is the ability to interact with different people in any given situation. When you're younger chances are you have a group you do a lot of things with. When you go out to eat they are there, if you are chilling at your house they are with you, when you take a date out to a bar or club you run into them. This keeps you in your comfort level and you can do your thing.
An older badass has the ability to leave this comfort area and move from place to place almost James Bond like. Part of this is being able to read people. If you are talking to someone and you mention a band they have obviously never heard of and are not interested in, you move onto something to include them. This allows you to get an idea for the person you are talking with and allows you to fit in. This helps to make wherever you are your comfort area.
Freezing up in situations will cost you. It could be a financial cost when you interview for a job, or it could be a physical cost when you get jumped walking out to your car. This is why it is important to be well rounded and prepared to handle any situation. If you can interact with anyone, handle any situation, and leave a good impression you have succeeded at becoming a true badass.