I had a unique experience in Brazil today. I got my hair cut.
Getting your hair cut can be a scary experience. After all, you’re trusting the appearance of your hair, one of the most noticeable physical attributes of your head, into the hands of another person. Even though I have my preferred style of hair down to a tee at this point in my life, it still gets a little frightening when a complete stranger is thrashing around my scalp with a pair of shears.
This fear amplifies when you are no longer able to communicate with the barber outside of a few basic phrases such as, “A little more here” or “Shorter, please”.
Coming into Brazil, I knew that eventually I would have to face the day where I got my hair cut. It hung around the back of my head, ready to pounce the moment I was no longer content with the appearance of my head.
Today was that day. Today was the day for a haircut.
Actually, the haircut went pretty well! I couldn’t describe very much, but the barber doing it had apparently been in the business for like 40 years. He knew what he was doing.
Anyway, what I learned from the experience is not that mysterious barbershops are trustworthy. What I learned is that this victory required time.
This is known as the long lost art of delayed gratification.
Adventures are full of them.
What I’m learning is that true adventures don’t offer payoff when you want them. They throw you into a perilous situation with no readily available solution. You won’t win because you can’t win…when you want to.
Adventures require us to be disciplined with our time. You can’t slay a dragon without first training for several years in the art of dragon slaying. You can’t conjure a magical potion without accidentally making poison a few times.
I couldn’t have enjoyed the success of a nice haircut without the grown confidence in my Portuguese and the accompanied slow-growing of my hair.
These things take time. And real adventures last longer than we want them to.
But the payoff is far greater than we can imagine.
Question: What is a long-term goal you’re working towards right now? What ways do you try to gratify that longing instantly? What does it look like to train for the long haul?