You should definitely consider becoming a polymath or a Renaissance person. And no, I’m not saying you should start dressing up like a Renaissance person and acting like a weirdo.
Polymath is a kind of well-rounded person who knows a lot of things from several areas of life. Academics, politics, health, pop culture, art… everything. In addition to knowledge, this person also has versed skills and talents.
It seems like a lot of work for a single person, doesn’t it? It is a lot of work, but it’s a mission that will definitely keep you engaged. Think about it: a polymath always has something to say in a conversation. They are never boring. And most importantly, they are never bored!
Sounds interesting? Here are a few tips that will help you become a polymath or a Renaissance person.
1. Learn Multiple Languages
Imagine meeting someone from Greece and greeting them in their own language. That’s what a polymath would do. We’re not saying you should learn every single language out there. However, you should definitely keep exploring languages. It would be great to know the basics and common vocabulary roots of the biggest language groups. When you get to that point, it will be easy for you to learn any language.
So how do you achieve this goal without devoting your entire life to learning languages? Just use any of the language learning apps which are easily available today. It will push you to invest at least 10 minutes a day into learning. You’ll be amazed by the things you can accomplish in 10 minutes per day if you keep making that effort every single day!
2. Learn How to Write
A polymath can definitely write. This is the kind of person that would write an impressive letter (or email if we try to keep things modern) for any occasion. They will choose the right words to send to their employer, a friend, or someone they want to get to know better.
How do you practice this skill? Believe it or not, it all starts with keeping a diary or a dream journal. Writing what’s on your mind will help you relieve stress and express negative emotions but will also boost your creativity. When you describe your feelings or situations that happened to you in written form, you stimulate the growth of new neural connections in your brain.
3. Be Artistic
Do you know how music works? Can you play a musical instrument? Do you know the classics? Do you have a sophisticated taste when it comes to contemporary music? If you want to become a polymath, you’ll have to answer yes to all these questions.
This is not that hard. Just start listening to some good music. Take some piano lessons. Take an online course to help you explore classical music in depth. Keep listening to great music and you’ll slowly polish out your taste.
Art is important, too. Get interested in the common techniques of drawing, painting, and sculpture. Maybe you don’t have the talent to become a great artist, but you should definitely know the great works of art. Explore different artistic eras and build on that knowledge. You’ll get to contemporary art, too.
4. Get Interested in Philosophy
Where do we come from? Where are we going? What’s the purpose of living? Philosophy may not have definite answers, but it definitely has interesting theories for you to explore.
A polymath has a great interest in philosophy. They know something about every major philosopher and theory. It’s a lot to learn, but you can certainly fit a bit of philosophy into your daily schedule. If you don’t know where to start, read Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. It will give you the foundational knowledge you can build on.
5. Learn Some Physics
Classical Physics is an absolute must for a polymath or a Renaissance person. You don’t have to get too advanced, but you certainly need some knowledge in the widely applicable theories.
Oh; there’s a subfield you should focus on: astronomy. It’s always been one of the biggest interests of humans. Now that you have access to NASA’s base of knowledge, it’s not that hard to learn about the phenomena in the Universe.
Astronomy is always an interesting matter of discussion, so you’ll create quite an image of yourself if you know some of its main concepts.
6. Explore History
Let’s say you’re having a conversation about the current president of a foreign state. Suddenly, you shine with an impressive argument: “Did you know that Czechoslovakia had a similar situation in the 1980s?” And then you start describing that situation and drawing links to today’s events.
Yes, you should definitely know a lot of history if you intend to be a polymath. History helps you understand the present. It gives you insights into human nature. Advanced knowledge may even help you predict the outcome of certain situations.
7. Read as Much as Possible!
No one says you should start reading everything that Paulo Coelho, Dan Brown, and Nicholas Sparks throw at you. Sure, someone may argue that knowing the works of popular authors is definitely important for a polymath. However, it’s more important to know the classics and the most powerful literature works from modern authors.
Focus on high-quality literature and don’t waste your time with worthless works. It’s okay to read them when you have extra time on your hands but get back to powerful literature right after an easy read.
You’ll probably find this funny, but there’s a great list of works coming from a mainstream TV show: Gilmore Girls. Rory was reading some pretty cool stuff. You’ll see some modern works here and there, but she was mostly focused on great literature. It’s the kind of reading list a Renaissance person would have.
This Is a Lifetime Challenge!
It’s not easy to become a polymath or a Renaissance person. However, it’s a challenging journey that will fulfill your life. It will give a purpose and a meaning to each day you go through.
You won’t brag about this knowledge. You won’t become that annoying guy who acts like he knows a lot more than everyone else in the room. You’ll just be that interesting person who never stops learning and always has something interesting to add to a conversation. Cheers to that!
Hillary Hope is a part-time writer and a full-time reader. As an author, she keeps discovering new points of interest. Her goal in life is simple: Don’t waste your time and learn something fun every single day!
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