MedellĂ­n, Antioquia, Colombia

October 11, 2015

The Power of Really, Really Crazy Hair

One of the things that slow-traveling makes wonderfully apparent is how much we’re all pressed upon by all the things in our lives. Culture, friends, houses, clothes and cars squish in on us, shaping our personalities.

We are not them, but it’s not always easy to tell.

And if they don’t fit well, we have to spend effort every day pressing against them. It’s like getting up every morning, and holding up the ceiling.

We change and grow out of things, get stuck with habits and objects that used to be right, but don’t fit anymore. But unless something shakes us out of it, it’s hard to notice.

I’m lucky. Slow-traveling means that every few months, I change cultures. Each time, I start over - with no expectations of who I am, what I do, or what I enjoy.

It’s made clear what’s me and what’s my environment. Even better, living like this makes it easy to let go of things I no longer am, and to start being things I am now.

So slow-traveling is great. But you can also get these same insights without living all over the world.

Curious how?

Awesome. This week, try an experiment.

Pick one thing in how you present yourself to the world, or how you interact with it. Something that doesn’t quite fit you, and change it.

Change your hairstyle. Go for the crazy mohawk. Dress more formally - or less. Arrive 5 minutes early to everything. Sign all your emails differently.

Pick some aspect of your public persona and change it, intentionally, for this whole week.

Think about how the person with your new hairstyle or dress or punctuality might be at a coffee shop, or in line at the grocery store. What would they be like when a friend calls? What about a door-to-door political campaigner?

Then, make the change, and step into it fully.

Right after you finish this email, go leave yourself a note, pull out those different clothes, or set yourself up so that you remember your experiment each day.

Then live it, every day this week. Stick with it, even (especially) when it feels weird.

As the week goes on, notice what this slightly new you is able to do, see, and be in the world.

What new parts of you come out and what parts you’re able to leave behind.

Next Sunday, take a look back, and decide if you’d like to keep this new shape of yourself. If you enjoyed the experiment, maybe try another one.

Always feel free to hit reply and let me know how it goes. I’m curious, and I’d love to hear from you.

Live well,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this piece about Judy Clarke. She’s the lawyer who defended Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And the Unabomber. And Ted Kaczynski. She’s wasn’t at all what I expected - and she builds and rebuilds my faith in humanity.

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