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How to Be a Renaissance Man

Jack-of-all-trades, master of none? Think again. Unleash your inner polymath with these tips.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Learn the lore Learn the lore. In Europe, beginning in the 14th century, the idea that man is limitless in his capacity for development took hold, leading people like Leonardo da Vinci, a famous Renaissance man, to pursue excellence in everything from science to physical development to painting and sculpting.
  • TIP: You don't have to be a man to be multi-talented. Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th-century German composer, writer, nun, and political adviser!
  • Step 2: Hit the books Hit the books. Develop expertise in a variety of subjects by taking time each day to study material that pushes your intellectual limits.
  • TIP: Resist the urge to specialize in one particular field. Breakthroughs often come from Renaissance men because of their unique, well-rounded perspectives.
  • Step 3: Invent something To call yourself a Renaissance man you've got to do things, not just think about them. Take a cue from Ben Franklin, thinker and inventor, and make a contribution to science, or build something.
  • Step 4: Master the arts Delve into the arts. The greatest minds in history painted, composed poetry, and wrote books in addition to their other accomplishments.
  • Step 5: Get physical Just because you're a bookworm doesn't mean you can neglect your body. Many Renaissance men boasted of their physical prowess or were famous athletes.
  • Step 6: Devote your life to the common good Live a life that's centered on service and the common good. Polymaths from Galileo to Thomas Jefferson all shared their talents and abilities in an effort to make the world a better place.
  • FACT: Casanova, the famous womanizer, was a Renaissance man. He excelled in law, mathematics, music, philosophy, theology, and writing.

You Will Need

  • Thirst for knowledge
  • Discipline

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