Mark Radcliffe thinks the thing you fear most – even if it’s going bald – can actually become your greatest strength.
There’s a fantastic piece in the New York Times today about men embracing baldness, and it reminded me of my own journey into the ranks of thinly-haired men.
Because growing up as a guy, sooner or later it occurs to you:
What if I go bald one day?
No, you tell yourself. Surely it won’t happen to me.
I’m special. That’s for other dudes.
Then, for many of us, at some point it happens. Maybe in your early 30’s, or even late 20’s. You start to notice it. We call it the creep.
Your hairline starts to recede north. You start eyeing it critically. What’s going on there, buddy.
When it started happening to me, I actually dug it at first. It gave me a sort of William Hurt forehead. To me it felt like I was just facing the world head-on.
But then it kept going.
And I got a little grumpy with it. Hopefully it’ll stop soon, I thought.
But it didn’t. And it was thinning, too.
One day, a few years ago, I happened to be watching World Cup soccer on TV. And goddamn if all of those studly bastards didn’t have shaved heads. Suddenly I saw it as a military look, one of fierceness—an utter lack of fear. And I drew power from it.
My problem was that I was still trying to cling to what I had left. When the real power move was to lean into it; just embrace the fact that my hair was leaving town and help it out the door. Not just surrender, but almost applying an Aikido-esque approach to hair maintenance, where you turn an opposing force into a strength.
And as writer Daniel Jones points out: it’s a new day for we quasi-baldies. It’s been de-stigmatized. We’ve got guys like Jason Statham and Andre Agassi out there making all the ladies swoon. Their bold eyes seem to taunt, Hell yeah, I’m bald. You got a problem with that?
And it’s a powerful lesson to apply elsewhere far beyond personal grooming: sometimes the thing you fear the most can actually be a strength. You’ve just gotta own it.