I recently entered the Root Cafe’s 4th Annual Beard-Growing Contest. There are several different categories but I chose to “shave in” and compete for the fullest beard. The competition required me to appear at the Root on December 5th cleanly shaven to get a “before” photo. While I normally have a decently kept beard, this is the first time in my life I have ever had hair on my neck; normally I shave right below my jaw line.
Although I was only the runner-up in the fullest beard competition, I walked away with a few life lessons (and shredded shirt collars) on the nature of change.
First Lesson: You Can Get Used to (nearly) Anything.
Any time I tried to let the hair on my neck grow it bothered me, so I could never let go more than 5 or 6 days without shaving. This time, however, I had entered into a competition and was in it to win. Although the neck hair did not get along with my dress shirts when I was wearing a tie, I eventually got over the discomfort and managed to keep it for a full two months.
Second Lesson: You Might Enjoy the Change.
As you can see from the picture above, I didn’t have much need for a razor. This lead to my morning routine being a little more pleasurable and not so rushed. I truly enjoyed not having to shave regularly. That being said, the day the competition was over I shaved my neck. For now I still have the rest of the beard.
Third Lesson: No One Cares as Much as you Think.
I am a youngish lawyer and having a beard is acceptable, but definitely not the norm in the profession.
I previously kept my beard fairly neat as seen in this picture. I figured there would be some resistance to the amount of facial hair I was accumulating; however, I did not receive any negative comments from clients or colleagues.
Sometimes a little change is just what we need, but lawyers are often the last ones to change anything. I am not arguing this was a huge life change; it wasn’t. I did enjoy the decreased maintenance and few extra minutes of sleep as an unintended side effect of entering the competition. Just for laughs I included a picture of what I look like baby faced and clean shaven. Now you can see why the beard is here to stay.