“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”George Bernard Shaw
Renaissance Life is About:
Becoming a Lifelong Learner and Wisdom Seeker
School (mostly) teaches us how to memorize, socialize (I mean, have you tried talking to homeschoolers?! Sorry my homeschooled friends. :)) and get good grades, but it often trades the how to learn and how to live well, for archival facts and figures. But I’m not here to bash the education system. I’m here to learn. If you want to navigate life well and become exceptional at what you do, then becoming a lifelong learner is essential. The goal is to become good at what we love and enjoy.
Cultivating Multiple Passions
You often hear the phrase, “A jack of all trades, master of none”. That’s not my intention. I don’t want to become mediocre at everything, I want to become a master of a handful of things I’m passionate about. Life moves quickly, and it’s not getting any slower. Focusing on only one skill that might be usurped by a computer in five years isn’t a smart play. However, by pursuing multiple interests we can hedge our bets, so to speak and also create interesting connections and ideas between them.
Mastery is far from a walk in the park. Most people don’t even become a master in one thing, let alone multiple. That’s why we need to choose a small set of passions we are interested in the most. (for example, writing, design, music, artisanal crossbow hunting) As well as pursuing the meta-skills (such as communication, thinking, and storytelling to name a few) that enable all skills.
Building a Foundation of Character and Virtue
Travel once by plane and you realize there’s not a whole lot we can take with us in life. But our character, personality, and virtue follow us where we go. Our house may burn down, our stuff might be stolen, we may fall on hard times and have to sell everything but the shirt we are currently wearing, but our character can’t be stolen without our permission. Our health follows us. Our minds (God willing) stays sharp. The renaissance life is about cultivating virtue and becoming our best selves, not just our stuff.
Growing a Thriving Community Around Us
Like virtue, our community is what keeps our life thriving. When adversity and challenge inevitably strike us down, our genuine friends will help us get back on our feet much more quickly than we could alone. Renaissance Life is not worth taking alone. By growing a thriving community around us — the kind of people who are interested in your success and wellbeing (and vice versa) — we will become something much greater than our selves and go much further than we ever thought was possible.
Choosing to be Different
Renaissance Life is often a life of nonconformity. We automatically choose to be different by dedicating ourselves to our passions, by choosing character and virtue over immediacy, and by making our path instead of blindly following what everyone else says.
Think about it. Name one person you admire — living or from history — who did what they did without choosing to be different? I can’t. They all went against the grain. They choose to be nonconformists. They choose to be rebels, misfits and radicals.
Being different is often scary because it requires us to step into the unknown and be bold. But being different is what makes us special and what ultimately leads to a meaningful life.
Creativity, imagination, play, curiosity and childlike wonder are where all the best ideas come from.
Be unafraid to raise your hand and ask a lot of questions. Even the dumbest questions can lead to interesting answers. Asking questions opens us up to new perspectives, change and better ways of living. Questions lead to better questions, which leads to better answers which leads to more questions.
It’s not enough to just pursue multiple passions and choose to be different. It’s about understanding the why behind our actions and standing for something we care about.
Living intently is all about caring. Caring about what you do, caring about what you consume, caring about the things you own and caring about the people who interact with.
Doing Instead of Saying
Imagination is huge. But action makes our ideas reality. If we are only saying instead of doing, we’re only imagining. Is an idea or ideal in our heads actually something that’s real? Our words only so so far. Our actions help define what we are and what kind of impact we will have.
To become masters at what we do and do all the things above, we must put them into practice. Practice comes in many different shapes and forms. For me, I love a good daily habit. It fits within the scope of my day. Like you, I’ve got a full-time job, family, friends, and health to think about. Cultivating daily habits keeps my learning and momentum going.
Having a clear vision of what you want and establishing practices gets you where you want to be.
Building Creativity, Meaning, Wealth and Freedom
In the end, Renaissance Life is about meaning and worth. Creativity and wealth are byproducts of loving what you do and caring about the people you love.
The more we do this, the freedom and impact we will have. We are all living and breathing examples of what we stand for.