Two lessons from a haircut

I finally did it. After two years of experimenting with growing my hair and beard longer, I cut them back to my original look. Here are the two lessons I learned.

(1) You can’t live your life according to people’s expectations.

Two years ago, I was graduating college (for the third and final time) and several people suggested a new look might be in order. I started growing my hair out and have been trying to feel at home in my own skin ever since.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I had no part in this (excuse the hair-related pun). But as I tried new look after new look, I was constantly asking people which one they liked the best. Buried deep in our nature is the desire for the approval of those around us.

But this is just a stupid haircut. And I’ve felt “off” for the last 2 years. Imagine the person who chooses a college major, or a career path, in an attempt to gain someone’s approval.

(2) Sunk cost bias can have a dramatic effect.

If you’ve never heard the term, it describes the decision-making process that starts with “well, I’ve already come this far…”

We tend to overvalue things that we’ve invested in. There were times when my beard was so long that you couldn’t even see the fact that I was wearing a tie. I didn’t like the look – but it had taken me so long to grow it that it “seemed a waste” to just cut it off. The result was that every day I grew a little farther from the look I am most comfortable with.

This makes me think of the person who realizes that they truly come alive in a different major or career path than the one they’re currently on. I’m not talking about the temptation to quit when things get hard: I’m talking about a genuine discovery of a new opportunity or something you didn’t know about yourself. But you don’t change because you already spent two years studying your current major.

There’s no time in your life that will be easier to change your mind than today.

At the Intentional Academy, I help people manage their time, get control of their money, and launch their dream careers. If you’d like to live your life in line with your true self, you should come sign up. I can’t tell you who you want to be, but I can give you the encouragement to figure it out! Sign up using the form at the top of this page.

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