You probably heard the term "Renaissance man" for the first time in high school history class while daydreaming about fast cars and the pretty girl sitting next to you.
Here you are, seeing the term again — but we’re not trying to teach you about Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The modern Renaissance man doesn’t have to be a master sculptor or an accomplished poet. Rather, he should embrace all opportunities as they come and be as knowledgeable, sociable and cultured as possible.
Your friends are taking a trip to Southeast Asia? Go ahead, book that flight and join them for the adventure. The girl you’re dating wants to sign up for salsa classes? Don’t be shy.
Show her your moves and make all the guys in the room wish they were in your shoes. Don't be cocky about it, though; your actions and body language will speak louder than your words.
There are many ways to be a modern Renaissance man, but the following specific 10 examples will give you a boost and get you thinking about how you can constantly improve yourself and the world around you.
It’s all about the culture and the people. Travel whenever you have the opportunity and make as many friends abroad as you can.
A great way to travel is to talk with the locals and find out where they like to go. Sure, visiting tourist attractions is nice, but the real way to experience a new city is to wander off the beaten path.
Walk as much as you can, slow down and wander away.
Learn A Language
This goes hand-in-hand with traveling. Study up before you go to a new country and make sure you know – at the very least – some key words and phrases.
A language crash course is now more accessible than ever, given resources like Rosetta Stone. Use the language as much as you can; you’ll make mistakes and stumble on words, but that’s all part of the learning process. Locals will be impressed and show you respect for trying.
They’ll even teach you some new phrases and curse words to boot. (One thing we’ve noticed is that no matter what country you’re visiting, locals always want to teach the tourists how to curse.)
Play An Instrument
Music is a language and by learning to play music, you’ll notice that other intellectual tasks will become easier. Sign up for lessons, grab that guitar from your roommate’s closet and go to town.
Want to throw a curve ball at your friends? Learn how to play the tuba. Once you’ve got it under your belt, join the New Orleans-style soul band that plays at the bar down the street.
The key here is being healthy. A strong mind needs a strong and healthy body in order to reach its full potential.
Join a basketball league with your coworkers or friends, start running in the morning before work or take up yoga (bonus: girls in yoga pants). Running isn’t your thing? Find your local pool and swim laps, instead.
Don’t make excuses for yourself. Excuses are just a way to hide from what you don’t know or haven’t yet experienced.
Get Involved In Your Community
Give back and improve the world around you. Not everyone is as fortunate as you are, so take some of your valuable time and give back to your community.
Volunteer at the community garden, become a tutor or mentor or coach some youngins' in a soccer league. You’ll do something great for your community, feel great about it and learn a bit about yourself.
Organize Social Gatherings
Being a modern Renaissance man isn’t just about knowledge, skills and staying in shape. The social aspect also plays a big role.
Organizing events with friends from different circles can take a lot of time, but make sure you’re the one who gets friends together and organizes events. Set up a dinner at a restaurant, a fun day at the park or a trip to the beach.
Your friends will respect and admire you for taking the time to get everyone together.
Learn A Few Signature Dishes
This one ties in knowledge and some social aspects of being a modern Renaissance man. Take some time to learn a few new signature dishes and then, invite friends or a date over for dinner.
You’ll get to learn some new recipes and/or cooking techniques and will have some fun at the same time.
The big bonus here is that you get to eat your delicious food — unless you end up burning your meal.
You’re a busy guy and there’s a lot going on upstairs. The only way to remember your thoughts and ideas is to write them down. Ever notice that you think the most clearly when going to sleep? Or maybe, you’re more of a morning person? Either way, put a journal next to your bed or have your notepad phone app quick on the draw.
Challenge Yourself At Work
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and take on that big project your boss keeps talking about. Many times, people fall into ruts at work because they feel too comfortable and end up getting bored.
Keep things exciting by challenging yourself. If you don’t feel challenged, speak to your boss and see what changes you can make.
If your boss doesn’t have anything to offer you, it’s time to start looking for a new job that will challenge you.
Be A Yes Man
Just to be clear, we don’t mean you should say “yes” to each and every thing that comes your way (like Jim Carrey did in that movie). In fact, when it comes to business and everyday life, there are clearly times when you should say “no.”
What we mean is that you should embrace all opportunities as they come your way. Don’t say “no” to going out with friends just because you’re not in the mood or are feeling a little blue.
Make sure you overcome the desire to keep things easy and status quo. Be spontaneous and experience the world.
Always remember to be as knowledgeable, cultured, healthy and sociable as possible — that’s what it takes to be a modern Renaissance man.
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