The Effective Life Lessons I Learned While Growing My Hair Long

Photo by [Nicolle Kreisch]( from [Pexels]( by Nicolle Kreisch from Pexels

Inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places.

The Road to Long Hair

Like a lot of men who decide to grow long hair, I like to be adventurous and don’t care about what others think of me in general.

And so, with butterflies in my stomach, I decided to not cut my hair till I could tie them up. Fortunately, my family was supportive even though they had to look at me every day during my early stages of growth.

It’s not for everyone. When you grow your hair out, you inevitably reach the awkward stage. This is when most people decide to cut it. The sheer length of the phase is the main issue here. During these 3–4 months, you can’t do anything with your hair.

You can’t tie it up, but you can’t leave it as is. You have to experiment with bands, hats, beanies, caps, products, and what not to just get those bad boys to stay in their place.

They’ll be hanging around from the front, coming on to your eyes, and falling in your food. Yes, that sucks. But the key to enduring it is to remind yourself of what lies at the end of the road — lustrous, long, silky (depending on texture) hair!

It’s been almost a year since I’ve not cut my hair short. I’ve had two trimming sessions to make me look like a human. After roughly 11 months, I’m able to tie it up on top and in other different ways. I’m told that a full bun can take up to 16 or 18 months, so I’m still up for the ride.

A word of caution here: What eased the process for me was being in lockdown for the whole of 2020. For the first 6 months of growing my hair, I didn’t go out except a couple of times. I did have meetings but most of them were audio-only!

Ergo, I’ve had an easier time enduring the awkward phase. I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to do this if I had to attend physical meetings and go out as much as I used to.

Nevertheless, this journey has taught me a lot about life. As I look back to the days when I started writing or learned any new skill, I found similar lessons repeat themselves over and over again. This is an attempt to share all that with you — the joys, the sorrows, and the whole shebang.

The Troubles

There were days when I saw pictures of long-hair men and wondered when I will reach that stage. The journey was mentally challenging, no doubt. But these things took the difficulty level up a notch:

Hair hair everywhere

No matter if you’re eating, driving, playing, or just working, you start to see random strands of hair everywhere. On one hand, I was happy to see long strands of shedded hair. I couldn’t believe I was actually growing my hair that long. But on the other hand, it was a mess I had to deal with.

Clogged drains and dirty beds are part of the deal you sign up for. I used to freak out seeing my hair shed. But I realized it’s normal. It’s not that you shed more hair it’s that long hair makes it more noticeable.

Waiting for years to get your hair to dry out

It just takes an eternity for my hair to dry. I often procrastinate on washing them for this reason. The first time I came out of the room with wet hair, my sister actually got scared.

Washing them is a huge problem

Choosing products and spending more to find the best products for your hair is the biggest problem of all. But thankfully, I’m lazy and avoided that. I don’t use any products on my hair. I just wash them with water thrice a week. (If you think that’s crazy, let me know in the comments. I don’t mind being proven wrong).

The “Static Electricity” look


Since your hair isn’t long enough from the sides, it just pops out straight. I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s embarrassing!

Comments from people

If taking care of your hair wasn’t enough, people almost feel obliged to comment on your hair choices.

  • “Why aren’t you cutting it?”

  • “Gentlemen have short, neat hair”

  • “How long are you doing it for?”

  • “So when is this frenzy going to end?”

  • “Do you ever look in the mirror?”

  • “I don’t like it”

You will probably get the same comments if you go down this path. Fortunately, I’ve never been mistaken for a girl. Although, I won’t be surprised if it happens.

The key here is to be certain about your choices. Know that you’re doing this for yourself. Be comfortable and confident in yourself. Even if you cut your hair, people will not think twice before saying “You looked better then.” Some people are skilled commentators. They will say anything not because it makes sense but because they can’t say nothing.

The Lessons

Time for the most important part — the lessons I learned from this journey. In almost every sense, growing your hair out is a metaphor for achieving anything in life. I reminded myself of the same principles that have helped me achieve any goal or tread on a road less traveled

Life Becomes Easy When You Commit for the Long Haul

You see, most people in life are scared of commitment. They feel restricted and trapped. However, committing for the long haul is one of the surest ways to succeed. Life is a marathon, not a race. And the ones who succeed are simply the ones who didn’t quit.

With writing, for example, I committed to writing for two years before even thinking about quitting. I started writing seriously in May 2020. Now I’m 8 months in and have achieved things that I never thought I would’ve. I had my doubts, my worries, and my apprehensions. I wasn’t a good writer by any means. I faced rejection. But I continued because I had committed.

Matt D’Avella one of my favorite YouTubers did the same thing. He quit his freelance career and committed to “this YouTube thing” for three years. “If I don’t find any way forward I’ll stop after three years,” he decided. But for those three years, he did everything in his power to make his channel successful and establish a business out of that.

I can give you countless examples. But you don’t have to go far. Look at the famous writers on Medium — all of them have been here for multiple years and produce a lot of content. There’s no growth hack in life. The ones who focus and commit, win; others don’t.

Some People Will Never Understand Your Choices

Others’ opinion of you does not define you in any shape or form. What matters is what you think of yourself. At every stage in life, people questioned my choices:

  • “Why are you doing a startup instead of attending your classes?”

  • “Why get into business this young? Isn’t this the time to enjoy life?”

  • “Why do you get up early and meditate every day instead of spending the night with your friends?”

  • “What is this spirituality stuff you focus on? Why not think about making more money?”

  • “Why write and have a side hustle when you have a job you love?”

  • “Ah, so you think you have a business?”

People will inflict their doubts on you. They want you to conform to the majority’s way of doing things. They don’t feel comfortable when someone tries to do things differently than the herd.

You must learn to use all those doubts and comments as fuel for your growth. Don’t do it for a desire to prove them wrong, but do it to prove yourself right — in your eyes. Ultimately, your higher self is the only “judge” here, so to say. The doubts and insecurities are indicators of being on the right path. Embrace them with open arms.

Wear It Like a Pro

During the early stages of my growth, I hid my hair with a cap. I didn’t want people to see the awkward, electrified hair beneath that. But when I grew my hair to a certain length, I could not hide it anymore.

I then remembered something from my childhood. After my grandfather passed away, I’d shaved my head (as is the custom in our tradition, for men). I was 13 years old and was scared before returning to school. I feared the judgments and the laughter I’ll have to face.

All other young boys in the family were wearing a cap all the time. But my father denied to buy me one. **He told me that there’s nothing to hide. Own it. Don’t budge in front of others. There’s nothing wrong with being different. **That, in hindsight, is one of the best pieces of advice he’s given me.

Keeping that in mind, I stopped hiding my hair from people. I only wore bands to keep them in place. On certain occasions, I left them as is. Whenever someone asked me about my hair, I talked about it confidently. I told them why I started and that I’m not going to cut it short.

You will face the same things when you do anything different. Don’t hide it. Tell people about your business. About the awesome product, you’re designing. About the killer algorithm, you’re building. And about the thrilling story, you’re writing. Don’t be afraid of judgment. Be proud of your work and share it. Whether people like it or not is none of your business.

You Have to Be Patient

Just when you think, “I should’ve been successful by now” you have to go on for months and years. As a thumb rule, it’s good to know that everything will take twice as long (and will cost twice as much). If you think you can grow your hair in one year, it will take two.

If you think you’ll have a great business in 2 years, it will take 4. If you think you can become a music maestro in 4 years, it can take 8. You just need to be patient and keep at it.

In the end, when you look back, you’ll see all those years of struggle will seem worth it. The years or perhaps decades won’t seem that long a time. Having achieved your goal, you could finally say, “That wasn’t too bad,” and then set out to achieve something else.

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Written on March 7, 2021