Lessons From Barber Shops

Barber Shops are the sites of a recurring phenomenon. Month after month patrons conspire with barbers to contain their head of hair. The reason for the constant recurrence of the event is the refusal of the head of hair to be constrained.

Heads of hair the world over are demanding self-expression!

Each shearing episode is followed by a determined bout of resurgence. As heads of hair, we have too much to present to the world to lie dormant. Each act of repression will be met by our firm resolve to rise up and make our statement.

What might appear to be a frivolous bit of literary indulgence is actual fraught with a deep-seated philosophical message.

Most of us could benefit greatly from adopting the stance of the head of hair. “We will not be repressed. We will be resurgent!”

One of the distinguishing features between persons who are successful and those who are weak achievers is resilience. The successful individuals demonstrate a capacity to keep going under adverse conditions. Success is often born of bouncing back from repression.

The barbershop challenge for us is to understand the meaning and purpose for our life. The head of hair understands that its role is to be the crowning glory for its owner. Because it has clarity about its purpose it fully appreciates the imperatives of its existence. It cannot be the crowning glory if it is repressed and not visible. It has no alternative then than to be resurgent. To do less would be to deny or fail in its life purpose.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow is instructive

Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!'”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The next time you see a nicely trimmed head of hair reflect on the following:


  1. What is your life’s purpose?
  2. Do you have clarity about what gives meaning to your life?
  3. What are the imperatives for your life?
  4. To what extent are you committed to being resurgent in the face of setbacks?
  5. Are you determined to express yourself despite obstacles or constraining forces?
  6. What crowning achievement beckons you with such power that you will make it happen without fail?


Hair today, gone tomorrow… but back the next day:-)

Trevor E S Smith is a people skills and performance enhancement specialist. He has been a hands-on practitioner in the design, implementation and management of Marketing, Sales, HR and Management processes.

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