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Paine-ful Wisdom

Welcome to today's #WednesdayWisdom from Way Of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods. ‘Paine’-ful Wisdom Wednesday Wisdom Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods QuoteToday's insight was inspired by English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary, Thomas Paine.

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

–Thomas Paine

I think the great Thomas Paine said it all with this famous quote, so I’ll refrain from any further elaboration other than to say that if you haven’t read any of this incredible thinker’s work, then you need to do so immediately. I guarantee you’ll find his thought-provoking wisdom both challenging and inspiring. Jim Woods November 9, 2022
 
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Three Pillars Form the Way of the Renaissance Man Ethos

Originally appeared in The Deep Woods at JimWoodsInvesting.com

A few years ago, a friend asked me to describe my personal “ethos” with just a few words.

Now, judging by that question, you can tell that I hang out with some pretty smart friends. And in this case, I knew my answer needed to be appropriately thought out to satisfy my friend’s curiosity. At first, I thought this task would be difficult. Yet after just a brief period of reflection, I answered with the following three words…

Focus. Integration. Celebration.

Naturally, my friend demanded I amplify this answer, and so I went about explaining these “three pillars” of my personal ethos so that each concept would be simple and easy to understand. So, with your permission, I would like to do the same here.

Focus.

The first pillar here is the most essential, as it also serves as a basis for all information processing, and for the application of the two other pillars of my ethos. The term focus here means much more than just concentration. By focus, I mean focus in the wider, philosophic sense. Perhaps a quote here from my favorite philosopher and my favorite novelist, Ayn Rand, will explain what I mean by philosophic focus: “In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. The act of focusing one’s consciousness is volitional. Man can focus his mind to a full, active, purposefully directed awareness of reality — or he can unfocus it and let himself drift in a semiconscious daze, merely reacting to any chance stimulus of the immediate moment, at the mercy of his undirected sensory-perceptual mechanism and of any random, associational connections it might happen to make.” So, when I say “focus” is the first pillar of my personal ethos, I mean it in this sense. I mean it in the sense that whatever it is I am doing, whether it is writing, speaking, analyzing companies, reading, composing and playing music, horseback riding, weight training, martial arts, combat marksmanship, driving a race car, walking a dog or just petting my cat, I do it in a state of full focus. I do it with the full, volitional and conscious awareness of reality — in the moment. You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of “living in the moment,” as it has become somewhat of a cliché in the self-help movement. So, let’s avoid this cliché, and just say that living in the moment requires that you live each moment in full focus. 

Integration.

The second pillar of my ethos comes after you’ve focused your mind on the facts and sensations of reality. Through the process of mental integration, you can categorize the facts, sensations and feelings you’ve experienced in that state of full focus, and you can begin determining what they all mean and how they fit into your broader, and deeper, philosophic premises such as the things you value. For example, let’s say you focus your mind on something that is on the surface mostly a physical pursuit, weight training. Yet is it mostly a physical thing? While the actual performance of the movements might be primarily physical, what you’ve likely already integrated before you even decide to begin weight training are the facts that challenging your muscles with progressive resistance loads is a good thing for your physical well-being. Indeed, the integration of higher-order concepts of “well-being” requires a long chain of philosophic integration that has to do with the value you place on your existence, your health, your appearance, the maintenance of your functional ability, etc. The wider point here is that the ability to focus on facts and integrate those facts into your philosophic matrix is the necessary second pillar of a rational ethos, and it’s one you must be consciously aware of if you are going to engage in the third pillar of this ethos.

Celebration.

Once you’ve focused on reality and integrated those facts with your personal worldview, i.e. your personal philosophic premises, then and only then can you rationally indulge in the most pleasurable pillar — celebration. For me, celebration is the result of the focused integration of the concretes of reality and what they represent in my life. Staying with the weight training example, I know that a focus on facts means I need to weight train to stay in good physical shape. Staying in good physical shape is a value to me because I’ve integrated the virtue of good health and the absence of disease in my life as rational values for me to pursue. And despite being on the losing side of my fifties, I am for the most part in excellent physical condition, largely free of disease and strong, flexible and fully functional. It is this combination of focused integration that permits me to celebrate this circumstance. You see, when you live a life in full focus, and one in which you integrate the ideas and values that really matter to you, then and only then can you rationally celebrate your existence. It is this celebration, in all its glorious forms, that makes life worth living. Whether that celebration is the pleasure of watching your children grow up, or whether it’s staring into the eyes of the person you love most and feeling that love come right back to you, or whether it’s something as simple as performing a set of intense barbell curls — when you live a life of focused integration, you can justly celebrate life in all of its forms. For me, the three pillars of focus, integration and celebration comprise the basis of my personal ethos. And thanks to my friend’s question some years ago, these three pillars also represent the consistent themes running through my lifestyle website and podcast, Way of the Renaissance Man. If you want to hear more about the various ways I and others focus, integrate and celebrate life, I invite you to check out the articles, interviews and podcasts available right now at WayoftheRenaissanceman.com.
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Madison on Tyranny and Oppression

Madison on Tyranny and Oppression Wednesday Wisdom Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods QuoteMadison on Tyranny and Oppression

Welcome to today's #WednesdayWisdom from Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods. Today's insight was inspired by an American statesman, diplomat, Founding Father and the fourth president of the United States, James Madison Jr.

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” –James Madison

I think it’s important, especially today, to remember Madison’s warning. Whatever battles we fight around the globe, we cannot let those battles destroy our freedom. Jim Woods October 19, 2022
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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.

On Harnessing Passion

On Harnessing Passion Wednesday Wisdom Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods QuoteWelcome to today's #WednesdayWisdom from Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods

Today's insight was inspired by American novelist, poet, and one of the pioneers of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac.

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”

–Jack Kerouac

Passion is what makes life worth living. But controlling your passions is just as important as cultivating them. When it comes to a healthy life, balancing your enthusiasm and your self-discipline are the dual keys to success. Jim Woods October 5, 2022
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Way of the Renaissance Man Ethos Tee
Display your Way of the Renaissance Man Ethos today with this top quality tee.
This Way of the Renaissance Man Ethos Tee is the perfect companion for every occasion—wear it when traveling, running daily errands, or going to the gym.
100% cotton 4.3-ounce and 30 singles Rib-Knit Crew Neck Double needle sleeves and hem Get yours here!

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.

Renaissance Men, Confidence and Being 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  
 
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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.

Remembering the Cat and the Horror

Welcome to today's Audio Essay from Way Of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods We are a few days away from the 21st anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001. In this special audio presentation, Jim offers his poem and thoughts on this day. And now, here's Jim Woods.
By Jim Woods There was a cat sleeping on my porch She didn’t know what I had witnessed The lacerated skyline of metropolis A bleeding out of her twin sons Flying lancets piercing steel hulls Black smoke seasoning the azure sky As the falling man descends to the concrete Incendiary ideas born in Bronze To please a prophet on a white horse Hatred of the good for being the good Crumbles a once-proud icon Falling ash blankets District streets A macabre concoction of concrete, bone, blood Fury rises in the giant’s heart Rage and revenge burn white Country targeted, let there be fight Two decades later, let there be flight There is a cat sleeping on my porch While the world remembers -Jim Woods September 11, 2021 ********** On Sunday, we mark the 21st anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. And yet the passing of two decades hasn’t been enough to fade our scars. And for me, those scars will never be allowed to fade. Etched on my personal black box recorder are the memories I had circa 1999, when I checked in at the World Trade Center lobby to report to work for my first day at Morgan Stanley. The firm’s training program for new advisers/traders took place in those Twin Towers, and in the weeks that followed, I spent many an afternoon high atop the Manhattan skyline, learning the business inside the iconic monument erected to celebrate capitalism, Western achievement and the wealth of nations. Their boldness, their glaring simplicity, their twin-brother like stance and their defiance of the rest of the New York City skyline was all part of the reason the World Trade Center was targeted for destruction by forces whose primary directive is death to the infidel. On that day, when the blue skies were pierced by the stiletto insertion of commercial jets into the towers, I watched the events unravel from some 2,500 miles west. A condo nestled at the foot of the Hollywood Hills hardly seemed congruent to the billowing smoke oozing out of the structural siblings. The only connection in my mind was… my mind. A mind having been there just a couple of years earlier, wondering what it would be like to actually be there in that moment. Wondering if I would have been incinerated along with the roughly 2,600 other souls that were extinguished that day. Wondering if I would have acted heroically, the way so many did. Wondering if I would have succumbed to the cowardice that so often accompanies paralytic fear. I would like to think I could have been a hero. I need to think I would have been a hero. Fortunately, I didn’t have to find out. Instead, from afar, from the safety of Hollywood, I watched. All day, all night, I watched. Compelled by the horror; compelled by the enormity. Thinking to myself, “Will this be the world from here on?” Would the world be plunged into war? At that moment, I wanted war. I wanted vengeance. I wanted to pound those responsible, and the philosophy that animated these acts, into a pulp. I still want to. I want to stoke the burn of that day. I want to remember the collapse of icons. I want to keep calling out the life-hating, celebratory death cult of ideas that is radical Islam, and I want to rejoice in its defeat. The scars of history must never be allowed to heal, and no salve of time should be permitted to mask the day America would be altered forever.
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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.

Labor Day Weekend Gratitude

Labor Day weekend is as good a time as any to recognize and reflect on good fortune.

I say that, because if you are reading this, you are likely one of the most fortunate people that’s ever lived. I say that not because of the virtues of this website, specifically, but rather because you have the relative luxury and the very good problem of figuring out the best way to maximize your life. Think about that from a global perspective, where most of the world’s population has lived in poverty, hardship, squalor, and under the thumb of tyrannical governments for most of recorded history. Sadly, most of the world’s population still lives that way. Instead, you live in the United States in the 21st century. You have more freedom than anyone in history, you have more technology at your disposal than at any time ever, you have more access to education and more money than any society at any time ever, and you are safer than at any time ever. Let’s face it, we’ve all won the lottery of existence, and the more we recognize that the better off, and the happier, we all will be. Yes, there are a lot of problems with American society today. There’s the pernicious rise of the “woke left,” and there’s the increasingly disturbingly fringe element on the “nationalist right” that’s threatening our republic—and both of these are part of the tribalism that’s tugging away at the fabric of our nation. Yet these problems don’t negate the fact that you won the lottery by virtue of your birth at this time, in this place, and that you’ve leveraged good decisions, so much so that one of your concerns is learning about how to be a more complete Renaissance Man. If you think about it like that, you’re going to smile. In fact, I know you’re smiling right now.   Jim Woods September 2, 2022

On Ignorance and Confidence

Welcome to today's #WednesdayWisdom from Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods

Today's insight was inspired by American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer, Mark Twain.

On Ignorance and Confidence Wednesday Wisdom Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods Mark Twain Quote“All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.”

–Mark Twain

The iconic writer provides us with a humorous, yet quite profound piece of advice in the above quip. You see, sometimes not knowing what you supposedly are unable to do is just enough of an edge to get that thing done. Believe in yourself, don’t listen to naysayers, and don’t accept limitations. Do that, and success is sure. Jim Woods August 31, 2022  
For more great resources and inspiration visit WayOfTheRenaissanceMan.com
WayOfTheRenaissanceMan.com/store for Way of the Renaissance Man Fans is open. Grab your stylish t-shirt, gear, stickers and Way of the Renaissance Man art, too! Just visit the website now!

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.
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On Knowing Yourself, and Your Enemy

Welcome to today's #WednesdayWisdom from Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods On Knowing Yourself, and Your Enemy Wednesday Wisdom Way of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods Sun Tsu QuoteToday's insight was inspired by the Ancient Chinese military treatise, The Art of War by Sun Tsu.

“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

— Sun Tzu

The iconic military strategist’s seminal work, “The Art of War,” is replete with lessons about life. Here, Sun Tzu reminds us that the key to victory is not only knowing your enemy, but also knowing yourself. Until you master yourself, you can never really be confident in any of life’s battles. Jim Woods July 20, 2022

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Will AI destroy Humankind Featuring Robert Deadman

Up next on way of the Renaissance Man, Will AI destroy Humankind Featuring Robert Deadman —and other lighthearted subjects.

Way of the Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods

Will AI destroy humankind—and other lighthearted subjects. That’s the serious, yet playfully intriguing discussion I had with my friend, computer scientist, investor and fellow Renaissance Man, Robert Deadman (and yes, that is his real last name). Robert is one of those rare individuals who possesses a breadth of knowledge that he can eloquently translate into casual conversation, even about such advanced and interesting topics as the rise of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, and the potential benefits and dangers of this technology. In this wide-ranging conversation, Robert and I discuss the current state of AI, and what the future holds for this ubiquitous technology. Topics here include such questions as… At what point will AI begin making its own decisions? How far away is this circumstance? What is the role of quantum computing in this question? Will AI actually have “free will”? When will the move from “Artificial Intelligence” become “Artificial Sentience”? Can we solve the so-called “Alignment” problem of AI, and how can we really understand this concept? I absolutely loved this conversation with the fascinating Robert Deadman, and at the risk of alienating my other guests, I must say that this was my favorite podcast yet—and I hope you think so as well. And now, my interview with Robert Deadman.    
 
Way of the Renaissance Man Ethos Collection Pattern Weekender bagThis Way of the Renaissance Man Ethos Collection Weekender bag is the perfect companion for every occasion—take it with you when traveling, running daily errands, or going to the gym. The bag is spacious and will keep all your stuff neat and organized with its multiple pockets, including one with a zipper for your most valuable possessions. Adjust the padded shoulder strap when the bag’s helping you carry heavier things, and continue your daily run without a worry! Get yours here!

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.