The Hair Shirt

A few readers of my blog have told me that they learn something from every post. Which is a really huge compliment. It is easy for me to assume that since I have come across something, or maybe read it long ago, everyone else must know it. But it’s true that you don’t know what you don’t know. 

With that in mind, do you know the expression “wearing a hair shirt”? 

Readers more advanced in age or the young and well-read might be familiar with the term. Basically, it was a medieval practice of doing penance by wearing an itchy shirt. Typically made from horsehair and wool.

Going through the pain and punishing themselves in this way would show how sorry someone was for what they had done.

My coworker Matthew and I started a blog challenge where we have to write before Wednesday each week or face a consequence. In the past, we have done lunches or given baked goods as penance. However, we buy each other lunch often it doesn’t mean much as a punishment. This time, the consequence I came up with was having to wear a shirt of the other’s choosing. Matthew did request nothing sacrilegious.

Right out of the gate Matthew missed his blog post so I found an embarrassing shirt, one that looks like a hairy naked man’s chest and back for him to wear around the office. 

While it was soft and comfortable, made of polyester and spandex instead of goat hair, I think the fact he wore a “hair shirt” prompted him to get his blog post done early this week. 

Maybe we don’t have to wear a hair shirt or even a hairy-looking shirt but I do like the idea of having a punishment to keep me accountable. To do the things that are easy to do, but also easy not to do. When I have these “blog challenges” with another writer, the thought of failing is enough motivation to get me going. The other “punishment” almost doesn’t matter.

Do you have something in your life that could be helped by putting a little fire under it? Let me know in the comments!

And if you want to check out Matthew’s Blog click here.

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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Erika Lee
Erika Lee
1 year ago

Hi Sam!! Have you missed any blog deadlines lately? What price did ya have to pay? If I had more consequences I would def jump into action more often. Happy Thanksgiving!

Phoebe Percell-DantesTaureau
Phoebe Percell-DantesTaureau
1 year ago

Chance does this with his clients. They make an agreement. And if his client doesn’t do what they say they’ll do, they have to do 1000 burpees or air dyne for an hour. Or donate $1000 to MAGA. 😂


[…] it relates to my last post, Sam Watson had written the post “The Hair Shirt“. In it, he described the practice […]

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