Sometimes you read something that crystallizes your thoughts in ways your own words can’t. I recently reread and finished Dr. Lew and Colin Walsh's book "ON" which is an inspirational series of ideas and insights that allow us to look at ourselves and have a better life. What stuck me was how they demonstrated through a story that a "better life" is no different than a sad life – it’s just how you view it. The book "ON" shares the story of three farmers and in my mind I made them all the same person by seeing them as three identical brothers with the same land and the same family (in my mind they even married three identical sisters).
As the story goes, the first brother gets up every morning, probably after hitting the snooze bar a half a dozen times, and goes to work in his fields to make money. The second brother gets up every morning and goes to work to provide for his family. The third brother gets up everyday, probably without an alarm, to feed a community.
All scenarios are exactly the same - same work hours, crops, equipment and help, but do you see the difference? Day to day their lives physically are the same, but emotionally they could not be more different. The first brother who made money from his field found that throughout his life he never seemed to make enough money, could not afford the vacations he wanted to take and always seemed to just get by until finally he died. The second brother had a good life with a thankful family that appreciated what they had. They would save together to do special things, and at the end of his life the family gathered and was grateful for the life the second farmer had provided. The third farmer worked happily throughout his life to his last days knowing that the crops he grew, his food, was what kept his community strong and healthy. It nourished the police and gave strength to firemen to save lives and also fed the young children who would then provide for his community. When he reached his last days the community gathered around his family and celebrated his life.
This story really affected me and made me think how lucky I was early in my career to have this explained to me. Sometimes I look at hairstylists that are struggling and after listening to their struggles realize that they are farmer #1. Hard working, honest, doing all the right work and viewing it all wrong. Farmer #1 can show us they are working hard, doing all the right things (like so many hairdressers I know), but unfortunately instead of looking for the solutions they need, they are arguing that they are doing all the right things. That may be true, but for all the wrong reasons.
When we focus on ourselves, everything but us becomes the problem, yet as this story shows, 99 times out of a 100 we are the problem. #1. Snooze alarms are for people who don't want to get up. Try this instead, set your alarm 15 minutes later. Get 15 more minutes of great sleep and then jump out of bed refreshed and excited instead of dragging yourself to the bathroom reluctantly 15 minutes late. #2. Find a higher purpose. We can either cut hair and make it shorter, than color it brown, blonde or red, or we can make a community successful by making sure they’re looking their best and feeling great about the way they look (one of the first things needed to get the job someone wants). #3. Like farmers, our craft requires a lot of work before we see the outcome we intend. For a farmer, that means lots of tilling of the soil, watering, fertilizing etc. before the first sprout is even seen. As hairdressers, it’s countless hours and years of practice and experience to keep on top of our game and support our community. Like the farmer, when we are "working" we should be "tending" through attending education, working out ideas on mannequins, searching on line for new ideas and images. We need to tend to our craft so we can best provide for our community.
Today, with so many problems in the world, our community and our families, it is hard not to take it personally when we are not getting the outcome that we had hoped. Many will complain like farmer #1 that it is just not worth it because they never seem to make enough money, but when you embrace the thinking of farmer #3, you find your community will give you everything you need when you work with the same intent.
As a respected colorist in the industry, Patrick McIvor is the Artistic Director for Matrix; the former Color Director for Nick Arrojo and Rodney Culter in NYC; and current owner of Patrick McIvor Color Studio in Bethlenhem, PA. He mentors his team by involving them in runway work at New York Fashion Week; fashion/beauty editorial shoots and interviews with publications like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Real Simple, Seventeen, Family Circle and Allure (editors named him one of the best colorists in the USA); and television segments on “The 10! Show”/NBC Channel 10, WFMZ “Channel 69 News” and “Good Housekeeping Reports.”
A cultural junkie, Patrick is Inspired by international cosmopolitan influences from fashion, global trends supported by technology and social networking, guests leave his studio and stages with his studio’s signature beautiful, sexy believable hair. McIvor is also featured in the book “50 Hairstylists.”
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