8 Principles to Cultivating a Renaissance Man Mindset

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By Jim Woods

Life is man’s game.

More specifically, it’s game best played by a Renaissance Man.

Now by “man,” or “Renaissance Man,” I don’t mean to exclude females. In fact, I know plenty of females who are “manlier” and more Renaissance Man than their male counterparts. When I refer to “man” or “men” or “manliness,” I am referring to a way in which to approach and interact with the world.

I am using “man” and its derivations here as short-hand for a mindset, a way of life, a way of engaging with reality and a way of setting your own mark in the world… and enforcing that mark.

You see, life is tough.

Life will kick you in the ass and smack you down if you let it.

There’s a great lyric from the very-manly punk rocker Henry Rollins in his song “Blues Jam,” that I found very compelling when I heard it some 25 years ago. It goes like this…

Believe me when I tell you
Life will not break your heart
It’ll crush it…

As dark a sentiment as that is, the reality is that part of being a Renaissance Man is facing that heartbreak dead on, absorbing the blow… and then soldiering on in pursuit of your goals.

Indeed, it’s the cultivation of resilience, focus in the face of adversity, and laughing in the face of your enemies that makes a man a true Renaissance Man. And in doing so, a man is able to embrace his struggle, enjoy his wins, and most importantly, enjoy the one and only life he has to live.

So, I say… take on that life as a Renaissance Man!

But what does this mean? Well, here are eight keys to cultivating a Renaissance Man mindset.

1) Let reason be your guiding light. Use your emotions as a tool to help you decide your course, but make sure emotions are always placed in the service of your rational faculty.

2) Work hard and make smart decisions. There’s no substitute for effort, and there’s no replacing intelligent, reasoned exertion. A Renaissance Man always works hard to determine the smartest course of action.

3) Be the kind of person you’d want to be around. That means be a good friend, a good spouse, a good father, a good boss, a good teacher and a good student—and especially be an aggressive participant in life.

4) Lead a moral existence. Be honest, and act in such a way that helps yourself, your loved ones, your community and the world become a better place.

5) Make a commitment to learn things. Read books, read articles and study subjects you’re interested in. Go to lectures, listen to podcasts like this one, and surround yourself with interesting people. Make learning a life-long commitment. Learning is one of the most-rewarding things a Renaissance Man can do.

6) Do things you aren’t good at. Struggle is often the key to growth. Don’t be afraid to learn new skills, or a new language, or a new sport, etc., even if those activities don’t come to you easily. Working through self-imposed struggle is good for a Renaissance Man. If you only do things you’re already good at, you’ll never grow.

7) Enjoy the doing. In Ayn Rand’s novel (the writer is definitely a “Renaissance Man” in the principled sense) The Fountainhead, protagonist Howard Roark says the following: “Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing…”. Be a man who loves the doing, and you’ll be a Renaissance Man who achieves.

8) Make smart money decisions. Don’t take on too much debt. Don’t buy more than you can afford. Don’t waste your money on get-rich quick schemes or shaky partnerships. Here, especially, it’s important to fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim of bullshit. And finally, invest smart, and with patience and discipline.

It’s this final principle that gets the most attention in my investment newsletter advisory services, and if you check those services out at www.JimWoodsInvesting.com, you’ll learn all the specific ways in which I recommend investing to achieve your financial goals.

And while I employ a variety of tactics, strategies and techniques to help maximize profits and minimize losses, there are some basic rules of investing like a Renaissance Man that apply to every investor. Those rules aren’t hard to understand, although I admit they can sometimes be hard to follow.

In future articles, you’ll find out more details on investing strategies. However, first things first. Before you can invest like a Renaissance Man, you have to nurture the proper mindset. By applying these eight keys to cultivating a Renaissance Man mindset, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that!

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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