I can't remember how I initially stumbled across The Badass Project, but I remember whittling away an entire morning while immersed in the site. It's not just because I have a disability myself--that's not what glued me to the site--but the stories of the folks on there who are, well... badass. The Badass Project offers a deep, intense, no B.S. look into the lives of people with disabilities, but it's not about disabilities, it's about looking at whatever life tosses at you with an off-the-wall attitude and tackling adversity head on with no excuses. Check out a couple of folks from the Badass Project: Sean Stephenson, Geoff Holt, Chandra Hinton Leitchtle -- or read them all at the Badass Project Interviews.
A “Badass” is someone who, despite being dealt a significant physical disadvantage, lives an extraordinary and inspiring life. Badasses do not simply “cope with the situation they are in”; they rise above their perceived obstacles and make them irrelevant. Badasses define themselves by their accomplishments, not their limitations. No matter how much people might say he or she doesn’t have, a Badass considers only what he or she does have. Badasses don’t think of themselves as “a person with X physical condition.” They consider themselves to be themselves, period. What most people would think of as their defining characteristic (their “handicap” in the eyes of the world) just happens to be one physical detail about them, like how other people have brown hair or green eyes.
Badasses are bold. They are confident. They don’t like being told what they can and cannot do. And, by simply living their lives despite what would appear to be significant disadvantages, they are inspiring. Badasses make audacious choices and do audacious things that many people would consider ridiculous or even impossible. And in doing so, they raise the bar for everyone, and take away the excuses that so-called “able-bodied” people use to explain why they can’t accomplish their own goals.
From The Badass Project
Years ago, I interviewed Jon Morrow and I saw that he was the inspiration for The Badass Project. The guy behind the Badass Project is Johnny B. Truant. His name might be familiar to you if you frequent the CopyBlogger site, where Johnny writes about marketing, blogging and writing. I do use colorful words at times, but I had to blink a few times while getting to know Johnny. You see, Johnny likes to pepper his stuff with a few choice words here and there. He doesn't mince words. Johnny has a "tell it like it is" view of life and that's what makes the Badass Project stand out-- the interviews are raw, revealing, and riveting.
Johnny is a guy who is living life just the way he wants it. It wasn't always this way though. He graduated from college as a scientist and was working on a PhD. in genetics, when he walked away from it all. "It didn't match well with me--it didn't match what I wanted to do," said Johnny. "I freaked out." That decision was a turning point that lead Johnny down the writing path. He worked as a freelancer and technical writer for a while, then finally found his niche in blogging, website development and marketing. Along the way, he connected with Jon Morrow, the associate editor of Copyblogger. Jon has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and uses a wheelchair. "Jon and I were talking one day and he said he wanted to get himself a t-shirt that said 'I'm a Badass.' No one expects someone in a wheelchair to be a badass," said Johnny. "I thought that was good. Jon inspired the idea behind The Badass Project--he doesn't think of himself as disabled."
As the Badass Project grew, Johnny found that it changed his life and his own thinking began to change. "I can't say 'I can't' anymore," Johnny explained. " Every time I start to say I can't do something, then my mind changes. You begin to realize you can do anything. When you say 'I can't,' it means you've decided not to-- and that's a choice."
Johnny has his own personal battle to deal with-- Type I diabetes that requires daily insulin--but he doesn't let that keep him from doing marathons, triathlons and power lifting. The folks that he's interviewed for the Badass Project are always on his mind when he does his training or he's deep into a competition. Instead of music, he listens to those interviews to spur him on. "I see so many people who have excuses--they say they can't-- I'm too old, I'm too young, I have kids, I don't have enough time, I wish I could do what that person does... When I ask them why not--they come up with excuses."
And that's why the Badass Project was born. Over the years, Johnny met or heard about people who overcame challenges with no excuses. A blind person who learned to navigate through echolation. A wrestler born with no arms or legs. A climber who lost his legs in a climbing accident. "Those people are badass," said Johnny. "They should be honored, because they don't accept excuses--unlike some folks who are fully physically-abled and full of excuses."
Johnny plans to launch a conference in 2012, a business conference filled with speakers who exemplify what being badass is all about: no excuses. "It's not about disability, it's about badassery," Johnny explained. "It's about anyone who has an excuse to overcome. And we're waiting for Oprah to find us."
---Are you badass? Would you like to be part of the Badass Army? Contact Johnny B. Truant to share your story. johnny (at) johnnybtruant (dot) com.