5 Favorite Renaissance Man Quotes to Live By

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By Jim Woods

When it comes to the wisdom we all need to get us through life, and to help us navigate its inevitable turbulent emotional swings, sometimes all we need is the power of a great quote.

As a Renaissance Man, I’m a big fan of finding wisdom about life from all sorts of disparate sources. That wisdom could come from literature, or from song lyrics, or from sports figures. Yet wherever it comes from, the wisdom we can gather from others can help keep us high during the best of times… and help us keep our heads high during the worst of times. Here are five of my favorite quotes that apply to both life—and investing. “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” —Ernest Hemingway One of my favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway, knew how to live life on the intense edge. Here, the pugnacious novelist reminds us that all that really matters in life is how you spend your days. When it comes to investing, like Hemingway, you need to be aggressive and intense, as really good results come to those who embrace the action.
Hemingway Woods - The Ultimate Renaissance Man canine
“Hemingway” also is the name of the resident Renaissance Man canine.
“I was blessed with talent, but I worked like I had none.” —Kobe Bryant The Los Angeles Laker great always worked harder than just about any of his competitors. Could Kobe have coasted on his innate talent and still done well? Probably. However, it was his attitude and work ethic that set him apart from the rest, and that made him one of the greatest players of all time. Whatever you do in life, if you adopt the work ethic and attitude of Kobe Bryant, you are likely going to do very well. If I took the time to bleed from All the tiny little arrows shot my way, I wouldn’t be here! —Rollins Band, “Shine” In-your-face punk rocker Henry Rollins is a personal hero of mine, as his focused lyrics and penetrating ideas on cultivating strength of will are indeed inspirational. Here, Rollins reminds us that you are always going to be criticized by others for what you do. And, so what? Do what you think is best, and ignore the haters, as they’ll always want to shoot arrows your way. From first to last The peak is never passed Something always fires the light That gets in your eyes —RUSH, “Marathon” The quintessential progressive rock trio has the best lyrics in all of rock music. In this song, RUSH tells us that no matter how much you achieve, you can always challenge yourself and achieve more. This is a great lesson for a Renaissance Man, because no matter how well you do, you can always be a little smarter, a little savvier and a little more fulfilled. “The quickest descent into unhappiness is to constantly compare yourself to others.” —Jim Woods This final one is my own, and it’s helped me keep my restless mind in check on countless occasions. While it’s natural to gauge your success in life by the success or lack thereof in others, you will drive yourself crazy if you obsess over what others have, or how others are living or what others have achieved. To be truly happy, you need to be happy with your own striving for success, and for your own victories. In fact, the only person you should compare yourself with is you. Strive to be better than you were the previous day. If you can achieve that, you’ll be on the path toward happiness—and you’ll be looking through the lens of life like a Renaissance Man. In the name of the best within us, Jim Woods   Now, we want to hear from you! Would like to share your opinion or make a comment on the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast? If so, then please leave your comment or questions in the space provided below and share this article with your friends and family on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Your comments or question could be chosen as our featured Ask the Renaissance Man Anything on a future episode.

A Renaissance Man Needs to Be the Lead Mare

By Jim Woods

I’m a horseman, and I own several horses and a small ranch in Southern California.

I love these intelligent animals, and I take pride in learning about myself from one of the best teachers on earth — the horse. You see, the horse is a herd animal, and one that has evolved to thrive in a group social structure. The horse also is an animal that requires leadership, as the highest-ranking mares (and sometimes the stallions) in the herd are the leaders, directing the movement of the group to different grazing areas or water sources. In “natural horsemanship” of the kind I practice, the horseman is tasked with taking the “lead mare” role. In doing so, the horseman must provide the leadership to his/her beloved animals that they require to survive and flourish. This method works well, provided the horseman has the requisite confidence in his/her knowledge and skills, and provided he/she has accepted the responsibility of assuming the lead mare role. Confidence here is perhaps the most important ingredient, but confidence only comes after you’ve done the hard work to acquire the knowledge and skill necessary to assume that confident lead-mare swagger. And regarding that swagger, have you ever noticed that truly confident people nearly always walk with their heads up? Think about that for a moment. Have you ever known a confident person that’s always looking down? The answer is almost certainly no, and the reason why is because confident people don’t look down. They look up, and they take on life as the lead mare. That lead mare role is one that I assume not only with my horses, but also with my other hobbies, and particularly my professional role as an investment newsletter writer. In fact, during my more than two decades in the investment advisory industry, I have worked extremely hard to build up the requisite knowledge and skill needed to be the lead mare when it comes to helping investors grow and protect their money. That’s because hard work and concerted, rational effort is at the heart of becoming a Renaissance Man. That’s why you’ll always get the sense from me through my writing and my speaking events, and if you ever meet me in person, that I am the type of man who never looks down when I walk. I’m also the kind of man who relishes the lead mare role. If you want to be a Renaissance Man, then be confident, never look down when you walk… and never be afraid to lead. In the name of the best within us, Jim Woods   Now, we want to hear from you! Would like to share your opinion or make a comment on the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast? If so, then please leave your comment or questions in the space provided below and share this article with your friends and family on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Your comments or question could be chosen as our featured Ask the Renaissance Man Anything on a future episode.

3 Renaissance Man Rules of Wealth Building

By Jim Woods

Building wealth really isn’t that hard.

The compounding math is there for anyone to grasp, as are the basic concepts. The tough part comes when you deviate from these principles in search of a shortcut, or if you make one or two bad decisions that put you in a big financial hole. Let’s look at the three basic rules for building wealth.

Rule No. 1—Be Right More Often Than You’re Wrong

Making decisions means taking action. But no matter how smart those decisions, and no matter how much thought or research or effort you put into those decisions, you are still likely going to be wrong many times. Think about this as it applies not just to your investment portfolio, but also to life in general. If you’re reading this, you’re likely someone who has made many good, as well as many bad, decisions in life. Some of those decisions you are extremely thankful you made, and some you no-doubt painfully regret. Hey, we all make mistakes, and that’s because humans are fallible. Yet we don’t have to be right all the time to be successful in life—or in our wealth building. The key here is to be right more often than you’re wrong. And, when you’re wrong, to minimize the damage. The latter part of this prescription leads us into our next rule of wealth building.

Rule No. 2—Win Bigger Than You Lose

Win some, lose some. This reality is just part of life. And try as we may to always win, we can’t. Indeed, part of being a Renaissance Man is understanding that life has its good days and its bad days. And while the big winning days are fantastic, the big losing days can really, really hurt. The key for a Renaissance Man, both in life and in the money and investment realm, is to win bigger than you lose. What I mean by that is you want to ride your stock, bond, and commodities wins higher. Don’t just bail out on a small gain because you have one, or because you want that shiny new car, boat, etc. As for losing, most of us have been on the wrong side of an investment decision. The key is to not let those losses go from small to large. Just like one or two really bad decisions in life can end up being the difference between happiness and sorrow, one or two catastrophic losses in a portfolio can be the difference between retiring wealthy and living the rest of your life on Social Security. Remember that investing (as opposed to short-term trading, which there definitely is a place for) means you build positions in strong assets likely to continue appreciating over time. And, you use the power of compounding and the requisite patience and time, to build your wealth. Of course, to find those wins in the first place means you have to invest in the right picks from the beginning, and the details of how to do just that are contained within the pages of my newsletters.

Rule No. 3—Seek Income and Capital Appreciation

When you’re investing (as opposed to trading), you ideally want assets that pay you income AND that go up in value. This may seem simple, but you would be surprised by the number of people I’ve spoken to in my career that think income and capital appreciation are two separate entities. The best long-term wealth-building assets are those that not only appreciate in value, but that also pay you to own them. This means owning a basket of the best, most-stalwart, dividend-paying stocks the market has to offer. I’m referring here to stocks of companies that have consistently raised their annual dividends each year, and those who have done it for years, decades, and in some cases more than a century. This isn’t a quick-fix, get-rich scheme or some kind of real estate flipping strategy. It’s investing consistently in the biggest, most-profitable companies that have demonstrated they are committed to growing their business long term, and increasing the wealth of their shareholders. You see, when it comes to the basic Renaissance Man rules of wealth building, simplicity reigns supreme. Once you understand that, you then need to muster up the requisite manly courage, discipline and willpower to see those rules through to the end. In the name of the best within us, Jim Woods Now, we want to hear from you! Would like to share your opinion or make a comment on the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast? If so, then please leave your comment or questions in the space provided below and share this article with your friends and family on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Your comments or question could be chosen as our featured Ask the Renaissance Man Anything on a future episode.

5 Ways a Renaissance Man Can Improve Communication

By Heather Wagenhals, Founder and Host, UnlockYourWealthToday.com

The ability to communicate cogently and objectively is essential to becoming a Renaissance Man.

You can possess all the knowledge in the world, but if you can’t communicate that knowledge to others clearly, then you will be hamstrung both personally and professionally. To fully engage the Renaissance Man ethos (Focus. Integration. Celebration.) one must interact with others. And, one must make those interactions meaningful and important, regardless of how brief those interactions may be. You see, it is the quality of your communications with others that determines the depth and meaning of your relationships. Here are five ways a Renaissance Man can improve communication skills.

1. Stop blathering endlessly.

A Renaissance Man understands the structure of communication and his obligations to be an effective communicator. Conversation is not a 50-50 engagement. It is 100% both ways. A Renaissance Man knows every communication is less about getting your point across and more about understanding. Think about how many times you have worked so hard to prove that you are right, only to fail at whatever negotiation or persuasion you are trying to achieve. Consider it your obligation when communicating to try and achieve a clear sense of mutual understanding. A Renaissance Man stays focused on his objective whether it is to look for and establish rapport with someone new, just engage in pleasantries, or persuade someone toward a new way of thinking or acting.

2. Looking is also listening.

A Renaissance Man familiarizes himself with Mehrabian's rule and realizes more is spoken without words. This rule is viewed as a ratio that explains how much emphasis we put on parts of communication. 55-38-7. 55% of our communication is nonverbal. This is body language, gestures, facial expressions, posture, etc. We say the most without even saying a word. 38% of our communication is audible. This is what we hear that includes volume, rate, pitch and vocal inflection. Only 7% of our ability to communicate is the actual words we use. This is why computer-mediated conversations such as email and text messages are often misinterpreted, because a Renaissance Man has to infer 93% of the intent. Even on the phone we’re at a disadvantage because we only receive 45%. Whenever possible, a Renaissance Man should place himself in face-to-face conversations, as that allows for the greatest level of communication.

3. Listen in full focus.

Listening must occur with an intensity and focus that only a Renaissance Man can achieve. Avoid thinking about what you are going to say next, avoid interrupting, and just truly listen. Failure to do this will result in you missing out on quite a bit of information. A Renaissance Man understands the ratio of two ears to one mouth, and he respects his communication counterpart by listening twice as much as speaking. The value of listening intently is that you will learn where people stand, and you will have even more information. Most people will tell you exactly what’s on their mind if you listen with both your eyes and ears. And often, you will glean more from the communication with how and what others say and don’t say.

4. Think before you reply.

One of the most valuable assets a Renaissance Man has is his capacity to think. By remaining calm and not engaging in instinctive and possibly overly emotional reactions, we can find ourselves in our highest resource states—the states that allow us to think objectively and clearly. This is where we review the information we have just received, and we can adequately evaluate the meaning of our conversation. Did the other person give us enough information to elicit our understanding? Is a follow-up question necessary for clarification so that we do not make any assumptions? Unless we stop and think about it for a moment and be genuinely contemplative, a knee-jerk reaction in communication can have an adverse impact, not only on that conversation but potentially the entire relationship.

5. Speak your thoughtful response.

After a Renaissance Man stifles the desire for snappy comebacks or misquoting adages or misinterpreting someone else’s vaguely expressed emotion, he should carefully consider and then respectfully and purposefully shares his response. By exercising the four steps before speaking, a Renaissance Man honors and respects the person he is communicating with, even if he does not agree with their position or point of view. By replying in this way, a Renaissance Man preserves his integrity especially when he perceives his communication counterpart is incorrect. Every Renaissance Man knows that to earn respect, you must be courteous, even to your detractors. By engaging in civil discourse with everyone using these five communication principles, whether it is the clerk in a store, your employer, a subordinate, friend, or family member, a Renaissance Man seizes the opportunity to deepen relationships and to gain more from each conversation. When you make or deepen connections using the, “Stop-Look-Listen-Think-Speak” formula, new insights, ideas and connections can be made—and that is a recipe for Renaissance Man enhancement. To Your Prosperity, Heather Wagenhals   Now, we want to hear from you! Would like to share your opinion or make a comment on the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast? If so, then please leave your comment or questions in the space provided below and share this article with your friends and family on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Your comments or question could be chosen as our featured Ask the Renaissance Man Anything on a future episode.