have you embraced your renaissance soul?
The Renaissance was perhaps one of the most beautiful times in history! It was a time when culture, the arts, literature, philosophy, science, education, and exploration was not only embraced, it flourished! This glorious period was preceded by the Middle Ages / The Dark Age / aka – a very stagnant time in history.
The Renaissance was a time when people like Leonardo de Vinci flourished. Leonardo de Vinci was a world famous painter and inventor. A few of his famous artistic works were the Mona Lisa, and the Last Supper. He also built canals, designed bicycles, created musical instruments, weaponry, and machines for flight. Leonardo de Vinci advanced knowledge of the human anatomy, studied botany, geography, hydraulics and music. Needless to say, he was extremely diverse! This diversity of interests captures those who have a “Renaissance Soul.” (By the way, a person does not have to be world renown, or a genius to be considered a Renaissance Soul).
Below are a few traits of a Renaissance Soul:
You have divergent interests and hobbies. Your desire to follow these many interests is one of the best things about you.
“Variety is the spice of life” and this is where you thrive!
You’ve never found that one dream job or perfect career – you’ve both had, and enjoyed quite a few!
You love new challenges. The flip side is when you have achieved competency or mastery in an area you often become bored with it.
Being “trapped” in the same career or activity for life would seem like torture to you.
You prefer having variety over a single-minded focus.
You feel much more like a “Jack (or Jane) of all trades, and master of none.”
Although it may seem counter-intuitive and counter-culture, you are more likely to thrive if you can indeed wear many hats.
You connect with a variety of people – your circle of friends is very diverse!
It is difficult for you to make a 5-year plan.
After a few years you feel an itch to move on to something new and different - even when you are successful with your job and it means starting all over again.
The statement, “It’s not an either / or world. It’s an AND world,” really resonates with you.
You eagerly respond to new opportunities and want to soak up life!
These are just a few characteristics that make up a person with a Renaissance Soul. If you have ever felt like you are a square peg (with your variety of interests) and people are trying to jam you into a round hole (wanting you to just pick one or narrow it down) – this may be part of the reason. You most likely possess a Renaissance Soul.
In her book, “The Renaissance Soul,” Margaret Lobenstine talks about a scale between the Benjamin Franklin’s of this world and the Mozart’s of this world. The Mozart’s of this world specialize in one thing. They focus and become true masters. Often that one thing in life, that solid career, or special chosen field is all that they need to feel fulfilled. On the other hand, the Benjamin Franklin’s of this world dabble in all kinds of diverse areas and fit the description of the Renaissance Soul above. When I read about these two types, I discovered that my sister and I live more at opposing ends of the scale and she favours the Mozart side.
Growing up I envied her single-minded focus. My sister knew from the time she was five years old that she wanted to teach music. She became a musical genius. Before she was twenty she could easily play seventeen different instruments! My sister can sight read music, play by ear, improvise, and she writes plenty of her own music as well. Not to mention, she can also play any style of music too! It’s not that she’s also not talented in so many other areas of life, however she is highly specialized in this one specific area and has been in the same line of work (teaching music) her entire life. Growing up, I really wished I had that one thing that I could focus on. Yet, try as I may, I just couldn’t. There were too many things pulling me in different directions! I couldn’t even pick one major in university (I had two, plus I had to have a minor, and a concentration in completely different areas! However, I was pleased that I had actually managed to narrowed down my university career to only four things).
Perhaps you’ve experienced that tugging in different directions. You’ve also felt the frustration from people around you shaking their heads when they learn of your new interests and exploits. “What is she doing now?” “Wait! I thought you were doing …?” “Now what?” You can feel the pressure to just decide already! Settle down with that one career in life and focus!
Thankfully the world is changing to embrace more Benjamin Franklins. Over the years I have learned to truly love, honour, and embrace my Renaissance soul and I hope you will too! A few things I’ve learned along the journey:
Embrace your personality! Honour your love of variety – keep expanding, growing, and pursuing your interests!
Accept that many people will not understand you (however there are a plethora of Renaissance souls out there who will!)
Choose work that emphasizes growth and change.
Although your interests can seem never-ending, focus on few interests at a time. You can always swap these interests out at a later date. (Read Barbara Sher’s book, “Refuse To Choose”).
Learn to embrace the present.
Recognize some people were created to be masters and others were created for expansion. Acknowledge and celebrate the expansion and diverse learning that has happened in your life!
Being a Renaissance Soul is rich in variety and about living life to the fullest. Life is exciting! Variety is the spice of life! Carpe Diem!