Learn to Accept How You Look With a Shaved Head and Never Fear a Bad Haircut Again

As long as I can remember, I was always very particular about my hair. Even at a young age I feared getting it snipped. Would they cut it too short? Or lop-sided? Would they mess something up and everyone would notice and make fun of me? Throughout high school and into early college, this anxiety made haircuts stressful events that I often avoided.

At the end of my college years I was broke, mostly due to a full-time unpaid internship that my degree required. In an attempt to save a buck, I bought some cheap clippers and started cutting my own hair. I chose the easiest style I could think of: shaving it all down to 1/4th of an inch. Significantly shorter than I had ever worn it. I wasn’t excited, but desperation sometimes drives innovation.

After chopping it all off, I evaluated myself in the mirror. My face looked and felt different, but not bad. It wasn’t a flattering style, but it wasn’t a disaster, either. I could get used to it. I was still me.

And the benefits were undeniable — my hair dried faster, cutting down my prep time in the morning. I no longer had to pay for haircuts every few weeks, shampoo and conditioner lasted longer, and I didn’t need to use styling product. Not bad!

It’s been over six years since I graduated college. Money troubles no longer keep me from getting my hair cut, but I occasionally still shave my head — usually in the heat of the summer. But after that initial short hair adventure, I have never worried about a bad haircut. If I’m unhappy with it, I can always just chop it all off again. I’m fine with how it looks short, and it’ll grow back eventually anyway. So why worry about it?

I’m not (just) talking about my hair

I didn’t immediately view my experience as anything all that eye-opening, but I’ve since tried to apply this lesson to other parts of my life.

If I can learn to be happy with a basic car, or inexpensive furniture, or a budget smartphone, or a smaller house, not only will I save money, I can get out of the anxiety trap of chasing perfection. That’s always a losing battle, anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, this principle has been easier to apply to some parts of my life than others. (Don’t ask me how much I paid for my coffee maker.) But on the whole, it’s kept my natural inclination to keep up with the Joneses in check, which has saved me stress, money, and time.

It also indirectly led to a major decluttering effort in which I donated, gave away, or threw away car load after car load of things, most of which I thought I needed, but I haven’t missed at all since letting them go.

I still occasionally buy stuff I don’t need, and there are some luxuries that I would miss if they were gone. But learning to live with less has been helpful. Not because it’s some secret get-happy-quick scheme, but because it recognizes that chasing luxury and perfection are themselves get-happy-quick schemes. It keeps me from getting lost on that pointless path.

I don’t need the perfect haircut — I’m content with barely having any hair at all. So why worry about it? Likewise, I don’t need the perfect dining room table, or kitchen island, or bookshelf, or wardrobe.

So why worry about it?

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Adam G.

Adam G.

Books, movies, wine, coffee, and disc golf.

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