The age of the beards is happening before our eyes, and not that we don’t want to accept it; we just fail to notice the trends that support the freedom in growing and grooming a beard. If you don’t believe in the upward trend of the bearded man, ask the women around you what they gawk over when it comes to labeling a “real man”. Go ahead; check out the rise in Instagram and Twitter posts that shed light on the perception of a man who does not own himself some facial hair.

You can call it the mark of a man, or you can call it the essence of freedom and a step towards being bold. Still don’t believe us? Well then, let’s put aside the actors and athletes such as Ben Affleck, Andrew Luck and Idris Elba whose lifestyle encourages this extreme manly look. So where does that leave the businessmen, politicians and family men of the world?

According to Alex Williams of the NY Times, “The beard, until recently the scruffy fashion statement of the plaid-shirt-and-craft-beer creative underclass, has lately been institutionalized, co-opted by The Man not only in the form of pinstripe-clad Beltway insiders, but by Wall Street titans, professional sports golden boys, Us Weekly cover boys and morning-show television hosts.” Men like John Kerry (U.S. Secretary of State), Rick Rubin (Co-President of Columbia Records), Richard Parsons (CEO of Time Warner), Steve Wozniack (Co-founder of Apple) and Jay Carney (White House Press Secretary) all have been spotted rocking beards (some subtle like Kerry and some awesome like Rubin) and they are all making BOLD statements.

What might that statement be you ask? That how a man chooses to define his look has no bearing on his capabilities to be both successful and professional. One should look at a beard as the conspicuous sign of growth, maturity and confidence. These famous, wealthy men are not shy to hard work and making tough decisions, and how they choose to wear their facial hair makes what they do no less valid.

Now, we’re not saying get a beard in deliberate defiance of the clean-shaven strongholds that may cause you to live beardless, there is an art and science behind the maintenance of a beard. But to live boldly, you must be prepared to thrive beyond the conventional ways of thought and action. That’s how a real man does it.