Renaissance Human Lifestyle
Developing myself in 15 areas at the same time, as a way of life.
Many people believe that having “too many interests” is a sure path to mediocrity.
I believe that being a generalist is better than being a specialist. Will elaborate in another post, but three quick reasons are:
- I find it more fun.
- I have more and better ideas as a result of exploring multiple fields.
- Becoming amazing (like top 5% in the world) at the intersection of two or more skills is easier than becoming amazing at a single skill.
I have many interests. I’ve cultivated some but haven’t pursued many. It’s hard to find time to pursue them all, but I believe it’s possible to consistently pursue many.
To make it easier to pursue my interests I’m bundling several of them into a single concept / personal project:
Living as a modern Renaissance Human.
The Renaissance was a period in history when there was a “rebirth” in art, philosophy, and science. Leonardo Da Vinci, who exemplified this rebirth by developing multiple talents is commonly referred to as a “Renaissance Man”. I’m using the word Renaissance so people immediately understand what I mean, but using Human instead of Man because this is clearly also possible for people of all identities, and I want to emphasize that.
I’ll first go over the areas where I want to develop myself, then my system that will hopefully enable me to do so, and finally but most importantly, the reason for doing this.
They’re not in order of importance.
1. Music Production
I’ve always loved music and making playlists. I’ve fantasized with producing my own music but haven’t really given it much time. I want to change that.
2. Digital Drawing and Painting
I want to learn how to draw and paint, to create awesome art. And I want to leverage the power of computing to create dynamic, digital art.
3. Graphic Design
I believe design is one of the most useful skills one can develop to create useful and beautiful things, so I want to get better at that.
I’ve always understood the immense value of physical training for health, happiness, etc. and now I also want to do cool stuff like backflips and the human flag.
5. Virtual Reality Artist and Architect
I want to create my own library in virtual reality. And later create art, buildings, spaces, and experiences.
I enjoy dancing. I want to learn Salsa well.
I love learning and books are a lifetime’s worth of someone’s most impactful knowledge. I already read a ton but want to make sure I maintain this area, reading ~2 books per week, and now also taking and sharing notes of the books I read.
8. Soccer trick juggling
I grew up playing soccer and I think doing awesome soccer juggling tricks is cool but I never got good at doing tricks.
I want to improve my thinking, share useful ideas, and develop a skill that complements all other skills. Becoming a good writer helps with all of these.
I really want to produce amazing music, and knowing how to play the piano helps a lot with that, but I don’t know piano yet. Also playing the piano by itself seems relaxing and fun, so I want to be able to do that too :).
11. Media Influencer
Honestly, I think it’s cool to be an “Instagram Influencer”. And I believe it’s also pretty useful.
I believe attention is our most valuable asset, and meditation improves the awareness and direction of our attention. I’m going to be meditating 20mins every day.
13. Topics Deep Dives
I spend a lot of time exploring and learning random things online through blogs, books, etc. and I think that’s good but I also want to have some purposeful, clear topics I’m taking deep dives into. The only way to find the treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean is to take a deep dive.
14. Different and Positive Social Interaction Systems
Humans are social animals and almost everyone understands the value of relationships. I can’t just expose all my relationships in this “public” project because I respect people’s privacies, but I still wanted to have some social component as part of the project. So this area is going to be focused on “new”, positive ways of interacting socially, leveraged by the power of technology and thinking differently. Some examples include sending a “personal newsletter” or having an open, designated time slot every week (maybe Friday afternoon) where anyone can call me and we’ll chat.
15. Building and running a company
I’ve always loved creating things. I love entrepreneurship and the startup world and I want to continue developing in this area. I’m currently co-founding a company with my friend Max Deutsch. This is the area I’m spending the most time on, for obvious reasons. But all the other areas also help me in this area, in different capacities. Furthermore, this area also encompasses many skills, such as software engineering, leadership, sales, thinking, etc. We’re trying to create a world where the full potential of human purpose and prosperity is realized, by creating incentives for learning and growth at the societal level, allowing people to be free learners. If you’re curious about this, I’ll be giving updates in my personal newsletter.
This is how I’m thinking I’ll be able to adopt a modern “Renaissance Human” lifestyle.
I first have to start by saying I’m extremely grateful for the circumstances of my life. I’ve been exceptionally fortunate to have been born completely healthy, into a supporting and loving family, and with access to opportunities. While I don’t understand why I was given such lucky circumstances, I’m trying my best to make the most out of them and live a useful life.
My system also relies heavily on self-discipline which I’ve also been lucky to develop over the course of my life.
In essence the system is:
Make several of the areas daily habits.
Have another “dynamic” daily habit called Renaissance Human Activity, where I switch what the activity is, depending on the day of the week. I’m currently thinking of doing either one 1 hour activity or 2 40min activities in this “daily habit”.
Continually think how I can improve the system.
Here is how I’m currently thinking about the areas, in a “Weekly View”:
Digital Drawing and Painting, 40mins.
Virtual Reality Artist and Architect, 40mins.
Music Production, 1 hour.
Dancing, 1 hour. I’m starting with Salsa classes.
Music Production, 1 hour.
Graphic Design, 40mins.
Different & Positive Social Systems, time will probably be variable.
Digital Drawing and Painting, 40mins.
Music Production, at least 40mins.
Graphic Design, 40mins.
Topics Deep Dives, at least 40mins.
Building and running a company, at least 8 hours during the week, variable on weekends.
Meditation, 20 minutes. I also do breathing exercises and I consider these part of my meditation.
Soccer trick juggling, 10minutes.
Books, at least 1 hour. This hour isn’t a separate hour for me because most of the books I read are audiobooks, so I listen while walking, cooking, exercising, doing laundry, etc. This amazing system has enabled me to read around two books per week, for over 5years.
Media Influencer, 10minutes. Will probably be spread a bit throughout the day if I’m recording / documenting things through Instagram posts/stories, and engaging with people. Probably won’t post every day. Just trying to cap my social media consumption and be smart and useful about my production.
Writing, at least 30minutes. I’m aware receiving a notification/email every day from the same person is exhausting so I’m not publishing in things that send those on a daily basis. But I believe writing is extremely useful, so I want to practice it every day. If on a random day you’re curious about some of my daily thoughts you can check them out in my “Daily Thoughts” public Notion page. I’ll publish more refined thoughts here in my Medium blog and in my personal gift newsletter.
I’m also aware there will be things that show up during the week and I understand the value of randomness / serendipity and maintaining my social life so I’m not just filling all of my waking life with pre-determined activities. I also sleep 8 hours every night because it’s the single most important and influential daily habit anyone can have.
Obviously there’s not only one. Like almost anything that happens, there are multiple reasons.
Fun. I love learning things and doing challenges.
Useful. Most of these areas are useful skills.
Diverse experiences. I love trying new and different things. I think there’s a lot of value in having diverse experiences. I touched on some of the reasons at the beginning of this post. All things feed into each other. Balance is key.
Inspiring and helping others. If I can inspire other people to explore their interests and try things they’ve been meaning to try for a long while but haven’t made the jump yet, then I feel I’m creating value.
Writing is one of my areas. To know if I’m improving, it’s useful to get feedback and observe how the world reacts with different things I write — plus if I think of something useful I don’t want to keep it only for myself.
Would be fun to create movement. Of people pursuing their many interests and flourishing.
Relates to my startup. Best, most fun, costless (in price), and lasting marketing.
Sharing what I’m learning helps friends give me advice. Also people I haven’t met.
Helps me remember what I want to be doing. Reflecting on what I want to do and how I want to be living, writing that down, and thinking of it as a single “project” helps me decide and act on a daily basis.
The compound effect requires consistency. Small and smart choices + consistency + time = radical change.
Reason for 15? I just started listing skills I want to learn, improve, or maintain, and I had a lot. Then I cut several of them but I found it hard to cut to less than 15… because I really want to learn all of these things! That’s the key — it would suck to just power through learning things you don’t want to learn. Also 15 sounds more interesting, challenging, and will make for better stories than 2 or 3.
Join me on this journey through my Renaissance Human Instagram (@re.human ), where I’ll be sharing tips, takeaways, stories, art, and the connections between the areas.
Receive a gift every week of my favorite quotes, concepts, music, questions, short films and other surprises, as well as some personal updates in my personal 🎁 Present Newsletter.
Read the First Documentation Post (Day #2).
All pictures taken from Unsplash.
This is an experiment. Feel free to try it at home.