I started way too many years ago because I had a huge chip on my shoulder and someone needed to get punished. I was immediately distracted by the ukemi and just had to learn that.
I recently had a prolonged plateau and was just sick of it. I was pushing through training but just kept getting worse and worse. The forum prescribed Mastery, which was interesting and helpful, but it was an off-hand remark in another book by Richard Heckler (something about teaching green berets) that gave me the "a-ha!" He noted that in his long illustrious career he had seen so many brown belts suddenly overcome with doubts, specifically about the efficacy of aikido. It just lit up the realization that whatever I was doing didn't work because I thought it wouldn't. Seems really simple, right?
Making assumptions gets me every time.
Yes, I started aikido because I wanted to be a bad-ass, no doubt about it. I have long since given up such childish things. I don't even really know why I practice anymore, I just know that I need to. It is a constant source of wonder to me, as well as deep joy.