I’ve been studying this subject of ‘Renaissance Souls’ lately. It’s a fascinating topic.
The most famous Renaissance man of all might have been the painter of Mona Lisa. But, Leonardo Da Vinci was a man of varied interests and talents, not just a painter.
‘DaVinci’s areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering,literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography… he epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. — Wikipedia
Many historians regard Leonardo Da Vinci as the prime example of the “Renaissance Man”, an individual of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”.
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt are also examples of Renaissance Souls who had a broad range of interests, mastered multiple disciplines and created innovative advances and breakthroughs in many different fields over the course of their lives.
There are many living Renaissance Souls like:
- Steve Martin (actor, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, producer, Grammy winning musician)
- Seth Godin, Marketer, Entrepreneur, Author, Educator) and
- Justin Timberlake(Singer, Actor, Designer).
Do you think Renaissance Souls went out with the Renaissance?
Nope. Nope. They are alive and well in this generation but the perception of these personality types might have shifted.
“A few centuries ago being an artist and a scientist and an inventor was looked on with admiration, respect, and genius status. Now? It’s seen as flaky, ADD-like, and unfocused.” — Alan Parker
Back in the 1980’s, there was a popular career book called What Color is Your Parachute? by Barbara Sher. People who wanted to know which career path they should take or what they were best suited for, found help and wisdom in that book.
It stressed the importance of finding your true passion in life.
ONE true passion? Hmm.
That thought might be outdated.
But, the book called The Renaissance Soul says just the opposite. This book’s theme was that:
MANY PASSIONS during a lifetime might just suit people better. Maybe life isn’t about finding just one passion after all.
What if your ‘true purpose’ is that you are a multi-purpose person??
You might be a Renaissance Soul, ‘Multi-Potentialite’ or a Polymath.
A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”) is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems..
It was obvious to me, by age 54 that variety was the spice of my creative life.
Back when I made visual art for a living I owned a studio gallery and traveled the country selling my art at festivals and art fairs.
I always loved making a variety of 3d mixed media art. I worked mainly in a small 5 x 8 size so I could crank out a LOT of pieces daily — different styles and themes. I preferred doing a pile of various art rather than working on one large time consuming piece.
That might have been what made me a successful visual artist for many years.
When I sang for a living I also preferred singing a variety of song styles from ballads to up-tempo, Broadway standards to folk to blues. I also loved arranging fun medleys.
Singing one song over and over again for years drove me batty, which is one reason I retired from Impersonating Streisand. I couldn’t bear singing ‘People who need peeeeople’ one more damn time!
As a writer I also prefer to write on a variety of themes and subjects in many styles. To me it’s far more fun not to be pigeonholed.
I’ve published 5 books. Some are poetry. One a book of limericks. One a non-fiction book about others called, ‘Creative People and What Makes Them Tick’.
Elizabeth Gilbert, best -selling author of Eat, Pray, Love talks of this subject often, although she uses the ‘Hummingbird, Jackhammer Analogy’ instead of Renaissance Soul.
She equates Renaissance Souls to Hummingbirds who try many things.
Then there are the Jackhammers who focus in on one thing and DRILL it in until they get it.
Jackhammers are laser focused. Hummingbirds try many flowers and trees cross pollinating the world.
If you are a Hummingbird you might just be a Renaissance Soul.
Some say it can be more of a challenge to have this personality type.
For instance: In April 2015, Emile Wapnick, author of ‘How to Be Everything’ presented a TED Talk that addressed why some of us do not have one true calling in our life. She said:
Renaissance Souls have multiple callings throughout their life, which makes life exciting and oftentimes quite challenging to manage.
So, there are two sides to this idea of ‘many passions in a lifetime’. It could be harder to pic one thing and do it to completion. That could be a downside. the upside could be that your life is exciting and full of diverse creative projects.
If you think you might be in this category embrace the fact that you might just be more inspired by a variety of creative projects.
It’s who you are.
It’s wonderful to know that you don’t have to choose one path or expression in your life.
THANKS FOR READING!
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