I remember when I first started losing some of my hair. It was around age 19, when one morning I couldn’t get my Elvis Presley-inspired quiff to sit right anymore. I tried gel, mousse, hairspray and even brill cream, but it just wouldn’t work.
I wasn’t too worried at that age, as I didn’t know many bald 19 year old guys. I figured the thinning and recession would stop. However by the age of 22, things had ‘progressed’. I had a lot more forehead real estate than I used to, plus a lot of friends telling me that I was losing my locks.
That was when I started to feel angry. Why did this have to happen to me? Why did I have to be subjected to the curse of bad genes and lose my ability to have a cool hairstyle? Before long I started get what I call ‘fringe envy’. I’d see some dude with exceptionally thick hair, styled to perfection and secretly hate him for it.
By the time I was 24, I pretty much had no choice but to keep my hair below a number four on the shaver scale. That was when my self-loathing reached it’s peak.
Then, one day I had a realization: nobody really cared if I had hair or not, except me. In fact, to a lot of people, the fact I had little-to-no hair was a redeeming feature.
That was when I decided to switch around my focus. I started to ask myself how being a balding man might be a lucky thing…
First, I focused on what I could control.
One thing I couldn’t control was how many hairs were on my head. But I knew that I had a lot of control over other things, such as my dress style, my physical health and my communication skills. Instead of lamenting failing follicles, I poured my energy and effort into these other areas.
As I started to move ahead in my life. I realized that anything I was gaining in life was through effort and ability, not through being a glamorpuss. Whenever I saw some dandy dude with a perfectly-quiffed hairdo sweet-talking his way into something, I felt content that everything I had was earned through merit.
Next, I used my disadvantage to my advantage.
When I started my coaching business, I was 22. Thankfully because my hair had already receded, people assumed I was close to 30-years-old. That worked to my advantage when I started getting executives asking me to coach them. These people were in their mid-late 30s and beyond, and here I was pretending to be enough of an authority to coach them.
The wise man or woman says ‘my disadvantage is my advantage’. This is exactly how I decided to look at my lack of hair.
Finally, I learned to accept what I couldn’t change.
This is perhaps the most valuable part of going bald for me. There are things in life that are within our control, and things that aren’t. The trick is accepting what you can’t change.
By starting to accept the reality, you find that the power it has over you goes away. Sure, there were pangs of envy occasionally when I’d see some GQ looking guy with a perfect hairstyle, but mostly I stopped even noticing.
Going bald initially affected my confidence in dating. But I soon realized that women found me more attractive when I owned and embraced the balding look. I worked on the internal parts of myself that made me more powerful and authentic, and soon I had more dates than most other guys had good hair days.
The truth is that people don’t really care if you have no hair, a big nose, acne scars, thick thighs or any other ‘non perfect’ feature. They care how you make them feel when you interact with them.
It is easy to beat ourselves up for not living up to certain standard. All of us have something we hate about ourselves. But the true journey of a fulfilled life is learning to accept and use these disadvantages to your advantage.
For me, going bald brought me the gift of internal development, and as a result a lot of external success.
Whatever your version of going bald is, believe me when I say it’s working for you.