American Turban

How the mustache became a movement

For those looking for a break from the nation’s focus on today’s US elections, I offer a change of pace.

In addition to being the month of the election, November is Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month in California. Moreover, November is also “Movember” in many parts of the western world — a growing movement to raise awareness for men’s health in which men grow mustaches during the month of November for the cause of prostate cancer research. Movember started as a dare in Australia among Adam Garone and his friends, but it’s now familiar to many even here in the United States.

Obviously, as an observant Sikh man, the mustache has been a part of my physical appearance on a daily basis since it started growing in my teen years. As such, Movember is always something with which I amusingly find some solidarity. When I came across the TEDx Talk that Adam Garone gave at this time last year in Toronto (above), I was interested to hear his story.

However, beyond the use of a mustache as a symbol for a cause, what is more interesting about Garone’s lecture are the lessons he shares about growing a movement.

As Sikhs in this country have for years focused on bringing awareness about who we are to dispel ignorance (and this became a sharp focus this year after the shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin), I was curious about how his dare in an Australian bar became a global movement to bring awareness to an issue — without a huge budget or slick marketing campaign, but through the use of men’s own faces.

Adam Garone provides an entertaining discussion about what he learned in growing his mustache movement, bringing up concepts such as persistence, passion, taking risks and patience — often qualities we discuss when talking about entrepreneurship — and the roles of education and fundraising.

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