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I’ve rocked a mustache for the better part of 12 years. During that time, I’ve had guys tell me, “Dude! You look like Sam Elliott!”

A flattering comparison. But, until recently, not a wholly accurate one.

For while I sported a Sam Elliott-esque stache, I lacked his long, flowing mane.

For most of my adult life, I rocked a close-cropped side-part hairstyle. It was the dude hairdo to have in the early 2010s when Mad Men and heritage Red Wing boots were all the rage.

A couple of years ago, I was getting tired of my Don Draper hairstyle, decided to embrace my inner 1980’s Sam Elliott, and started growing my hair out. Operation Sam Elliott Hair was on.

the goal
The Platonic Ideal of Long Dude Hair: 1980’s Sam Elliott

My first attempt at growing my hair out was in 2018. It started off strong but then got weird. My hair just got really poofy and wide. I looked more like a Chia Head and less like Sam Elliott.

So I aborted the operation and razed my hair back to my standard close-cropped side-part style.

abort mission
My 2020 attempt at Operation Sam Elliott Hair. Taken right before my mother-in-law buzzed my hair. Mission failed . . . but only temporarily.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, and everything, including barbershops, shut down, I figured it was an excellent time to pick up Operation Sam Elliott Hair again. But like the first time, my resulting bouffant made me look more like a lady who could star in Hairspray than a dude who might conceivably be cast in a Western. At least as an extra.

Abort mission. I had my mother-in-law buzz my unruly mane.

In January 2021, I decided to give Operation Sam Elliott Hair one more try. But this time, I brought in a professional to guide the process to improve my chances of achieving my goal.

In March 2021, I drove two hours up the turnpike to Springfield, MO to pay professional barber Thad Forrester a visit at one of the locations in his chain of Hudson / Hawk barbershops. I first met Thad when we made some hair-related AoM videos together, and he’d given me the best haircut I’d ever had. So I trusted him with my locks. And my yet unfulfilled dream.

I told him of my epic quest to achieve 1980’s Sam Elliott hair and how it always ended with wailing and gnashing of teeth and a pile of hair on the floor after I buzzed it all off.

Thad listened attentively and created a game plan to achieve the Sam Elliott Hair of my dreams. After nine months of working with him, I believe we’ve nearly reached the summit.

Here’s what I learned over the course of the journey about what dudes need to know if they want to grow their hair out.

How to Grow Your Hair Long (When You’re a Dude)

Make sure your hair is a good candidate for wearing long. Just like specific beard styles require specific types of beard growth, particular hairstyles require particular kinds of hair growth.

The long hairstyle is best for guys who have thick hair; thin/fine hair can look stringy and unattractive when worn long.

Long hair also won’t look good on a man who’s losing his hair. “A lot of men who start to thin decide now is the time to let it grow for one last hurrah. My advice . . . don’t,” Thad told me. “The longer the hair gets, the more it pulls down on the hair because of the additional weight, leading to more scalp exposure, which accentuates the hair thinning.”

If your hair is on the thicker side, and you’re not balding, then you’re a good candidate for growing your hair out long. If you

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Toscano Master Aged 4: American/Italian Blend Cigar Review

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Review

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Review

My journey through Toscano’s Master Aged series culminates with this Master Aged 4, which, through this process, I’ve learned has a few secrets up its sleeves.

While researching this particular blend, I saw it advertised as an Italian wrapper with a 50/50 Italian and American filler, which sounded identical to the Master Aged 1. To get clarification, I contacted Michael Cappellini, the US Toscano brand ambassador.

He kindly informed me that the wrapper on the Master Aged 4 is micro-fermented. This particular treatment, conducted at higher temperatures, is designed to enhance flavor complexity without intensifying the strength.

This is rather intriguing, and I’m eager to put the Master Aged 4 through the Bespoke Unit Cigar Matrix:

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Download the Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Matrix as a PDF.

Toscano Master Aged 2 Cigar Review Formula JPG
Learn more about the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Details

Brand: ToscanoRange: Master Aged 4Reviewed Vitolas: 6.3 x 40 “Double-Truncated Cone”Wrapper: Italian Micro-FermentedBinder: N/AFiller: 50% Italian / 50% Kentucky Fire-Cured TobaccoFactory: Lucca (Italy)Handmade: YesBody: FullEstimated Smoking Time: 90 MinutesPricing: $225 / Box of 30 [Buy On CigarPage]

Despite employing a sophisticated micro-fermentation process that enhances its flavor complexity, the Toscano Master Aged 4 remains competitively priced. It is available for $225 per box of 30, which breaks down to $7.5 per cigar. This keeps it aligned with the rest of the Master Aged cigar collection.

All Toscano Master Aged Cigars Together

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigars

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Podcast #1,007: The 5 Mountains of Personal Development

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It can be difficult to visualize the journey towards personal development and becoming an exceptional individual. It’s easier to visualize it like Mark Divine, who sees it as five mountains to climb.

Mark is retired Navy SEAL commander, professor of leadership, yogi, creator of fitness programs and mindset programs such as SEALFIT, Unbeatable Mind and an author. His two decades of military experience, combined with his martial arts training and Zen meditation, have led him to develop the holistic warrior monk philosophy, which informs all of his work including Uncommon: simple principles for an extraordinary life.

Mark is your guide today on the show as he explains the topography and daily practices of the five mountain ranges of personal growth. We discuss why the physical mountain is the first to master and the intuitional one the fourth. We also talk about the Navy SEAL breathing technique that helps you develop metacognition.

Podcast Resources

Mark Divine’s previous appearances on the Art of Manliness Podcast: Episode #60 – The Way of the SEALBox BreathingUnbeatable Mind: Mark Divine Staring Down the Wolf: Mark DivineAoM article: 4 Key Insights from the BhagavadgitaAoM podcast #616 – A Guide for the Journey towards Your True CallingSunday firesides: You don’t have the time, not to take the timeF3 NationIkigai

Mark Divine: Connect with him

Uncommon Website Mark’s Mark on IG

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Getting Over the Indignity of Baby Steps

Bill Murray stars as Bob Wiley in the 1991 comedy What About Bob? He is a neurotic, anxious man who seeks out the help of Dr. Bob Marvin, an ambitious and egotistical therapist played by Richard Dreyfuss.

Dr. Marvin wants his name to become the next Dr. Spock, a psychologist with a worldwide reputation. He believes that his newly published book, Baby Steps is the key to fame and fortune.

Bob’s numerous psychological problems are discussed with Dr. Marvin. Dr. Marvin then gives Bob a book called Baby Steps. Bob adopts the Baby Steps Philosophy and takes literal and figurative steps out of Dr. Marvin’s office. Bob’s comedic antics are heightened when he crashes Dr. Marvin and his family’s vacation.

While What About Bob? While the film pokes fun at therapy by using the phrase “baby steps”, it captures an idea that may sound cliche, but is nonetheless true: Small actions taken consistently are the most effective ways to make big changes to our lives.

You should know that

Kaizen.

Little strokes fell great oaks.

Pound the rock.

Even though I know that the best way to change is through small steps, I often struggle with taking them.

You’ve probably all experienced something similar.

Today’s article will explore why we hesitate to take small steps and how we can embrace them.

Why We Stop Taking BabySteps to Change

Two main reasons are why we often hesitate to take baby-steps towards a goal.

The “This Makes me Feel Like a Dumb Baby” or “Sense of Inadequacy” Effect

We may be reluctant to make small changes because we feel insecure.

In his book, How We Change (And 10 Reasons Why we Don’t), psychologist Dr. Ross Ellenhorn discusses the humiliation of baby steps. Ellenhorn says that taking small steps can be demoralizing because they remind us how far we are from our desired goal. Each baby step may feel like a mini disappointment that emphasizes the work still needed to reach our goals, amplifying feelings of inadequacy. You’ll have to face the reality that you are not where you would like to be if you keep taking baby steps.

We stop taking baby steps altogether to avoid the mini-deafness that comes with them. We avoid taking baby steps because they make us feel bad.

This is something I’ve seen in my life.

I tend to over-analyze things. I can be Eeyore like because of my negativity bias. Since I didn’t like this, I have tried to control my Eeyore tendencies for the majority of my adulthood.

Cognitive behavioral therapists suggest that you catch yourself catastrophizing and then spend a few minutes questioning the assumptions that contribute to your negative mood.

But I have a hard time putting it into regular practice. Why? Why? It makes me stupid to have to constantly question my overly pessimistic, erroneous assumptions. It reminds me of my melancholic mindset every time I question my pessimistic view.

This is the inner dialogue I have when I begin to question my negative assumptions, and am grumpy.

Look at how stupid I am. I have to look at this list of questions and see if my negative bias is accurate or not. I feel stupid, because the answers to these questions are usually that my assumptions have been distorted. Others I know do not have to. Why am I doing this? “Oh yeah, my brain is damaged.”

I spiral into doomsday and despair. I feel bad for feeling bad because I have taken the baby step to question my cognitive distortions.

The baby step of re-examining my distorted view makes me feel bad.

Did you miss our previous article…
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