“Despite everything, no one can dictate who your are to other people.”
-Prince, 1958-2016, Singer/Songwriter
This photo says it all, doesn’t it? Prince, in his glorious badassery, strutting the stage in 1991 on MTV, performing his salacious hit, “Gett Off” for MTV. Some say this performance is the sexiest thing ever aired on TV. I think people would lose their minds if something even close aired today. What can we learn from Prince? I believe his purple reign taught us how to be a badass.
Here are just a few lessons.
- Don’t be Afraid to Offend or Unnerve
Prince made the decision to have his yellow lace “swiss cheese” outfit custom-made only a few days before that MTV performance. His designers and stylists scrambled to pull together and execute his vision in time for the show. Only Prince knows how long he deliberated about wearing this outfit. But one thing that WE know is that once he made the decision, he committed and executed, unafraid of the fallout. Did he offend and unnerve? Absolutely. Was it one of the most notable performances of his career? Unequivocally, yes. It has been said that if you aren’t offending or unnerving someone, then you aren’t edgy enough. Are you playing it safe in your career, in your relationship and in your life? Badasses know that haters gonna’ hate, and they are okay with that. Something tells me that after the performance and into the next day, Prince did not have an ounce of regret over his wardrobe choice.
2. 23 Positions in a One-Night Stand
When we get into a routine of living, variety goes out the window. Our brains are a magnificent computer, but our brains also LOVE routine, ordinariness, and predictability. As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, the hardest thing about change is not thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things as you did the day before. What new experiences can you have, right now, to mix it up a little? Take that salsa class, cook that new dish, go a different way to work. Turn off the TV and watch a TED Talk on how to spice up your relationship (Monogamish: The New Rules of Marriage). Having new experiences creates new memories and new ways of looking at the world. Badass people strive to have the new experiences and love innovation. Prince’s Gett Off performance was never repeated. And here’s the thing — he created that experience for himself. He created the reality he wanted to have. Badasses create the future they want to have instead of living based on memories of the past. You can too. Break out of your rut and pierce the veil between an ordinary and extraordinary life.
3. Let Me Show You Baby I’m a Talented Boy (Girl)
Prince was a little guy, 5-foot-nothing. Media photos show him wearing 3-4″ heeled boots, and nearly all his outfits had extra-thick shoulder pads. Today, Prince is still described as a musical genius, a powerhouse; a giant. Now, I’m not saying that Prince never suffered from Imposter Syndrome. In fact, I am sure he did. Statistically, high achievers DO suffer from Imposter Syndrome at some point in their careers. IS will stop you in your tracks, rendering you an apologetic self-conscious mess. The easiest way to combat IS from taking over is to actually step into your genius. Own your success. You’ve worked hard, dammit, you SHOULD be good. Everything you have done up to now is preparing you for this moment. No one has the life experience you have, and no one can deliver their truth like you. Own it. Prince never apologized for who he was, or chalked it up to luck. His on-air interviews were always frustrating for fans, because we just wanted to hear him talk more, to hear his genius. In his defense, his music did that for him. For the rest of us Badasses-in-Training, our lesson here is to step into our truth and speak it. It matters, and people want to hear.
In the end, Pince shuffled off this mortal coil much too soon. He was spectacularly flawed just like the rest of us. But no one can deny his authenticity, his ingenuity, and his dedication to his craft. He was a badass in every sense of the word.
Show up, show out, and shine, people.
Life is too short to do anything less.