The man of many talents; the polymath; the Renaissance man; the jack of all trades. All of these titles describe an individual that is developing themselves to become proficient in a number of different areas of life. These areas can be related to working life, sport, academia, and general worldly knowledge.
The person that has developed a broad range of skills beyond that of the average individual is seen as someone who can be relied upon to get a job done, and is considered to be worldly and intelligent. Many great people in history have had multiple, developed skill sets such as Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt. In order to be a well rounded individual, and live up to the same standards of these great role models, it is important to become proficient in as many areas of life as possible so that you may be recognised as a true worldly individual.
We live in an age of distraction, where there is limitless supply of entertainment at our fingertips. Consequently, we also live in an age of information, where there is also limitless supply of knowledge that can be learned and applied. With the advent of the internet it is easier than ever to learn about any topic of interest, however the internet is mostly used to distract rather than learn. If people used more of their time spent distracted by meaningless but entertaining stimulation with intellectual stimulation, there may be more well rounded and worldly individuals available to be respected and valued.
Here I have compiled a short list of skills that could be learned in order to begin a path to becoming a recognised Renaissance man, and follow in the footsteps of some of the most influential people in history.
Learn a new language
I think that everyone has a desire to learn a second language. For those that already have learned a second language, you are well aware of the benefits of doing so. One of the obvious benefits is that you gain the ability to converse with a person from a country that doesn’t speak your primary language. This can be greatly important if you consider travelling or are entering a job where you converse with people from different nationalities. In addition, you never know when you may encounter someone in the future who speaks the language you learnt; they will greatly appreciate being able to converse with someone that speaks their language.
Another benefit is that once you have learnt a language, learning further languages becomes a lot easier. This is particularly true for European languages, which often use similar grammatical rules and share similar sounding words that have the same meaning. This means that if you ever need to quickly learn a new language in the future, you would already have done half the work.
In order to learn a new language several options are available. You could join a local class that teaches the language or get books out of the library and teach yourself. Perhaps the easiest way is to use the internet, where you can visit websites and download software or apps that allow you to learn in a more interactive way and allows you to track your progress.
Start writing frequently
The benefits of frequent writing are countless. Learning how to write effectively and efficiently can have many positive implications across a number of areas of life. Writing increases your creative abilities, enhancing the ease with which you can come up with new ideas and concepts. It makes you more articulate, increasing your vocabulary and allowing you to communicate in a much more influential way. It also forces you to think in depth about what it is you are writing about, so that you may find sudden insight into a topic you are pondering. You’ll find with repeated writing practise, you will develop useful skills that you will be able to apply to any situation.
Writing is a skill that requires practise to develop and be improved. But in order to practise, a topic is required to be written about. There are various ways the skill of writing can be tackled; you could write fictional stories, non-fictional essays, your own personal ideas, or jot any observations that you make. Writing non-fiction will not only develop your skill but also allow you to learn more about a topic of your interest. Writing fiction will assist with improving creativity and developing more empathy. Whatever is chosen to write about, continually keeping it up and making a habit of it will cultivate all the useful skills associated with writing.
In order to begin writing, purchase a pocket notebook that can be used to write down ideas as they come or write notes on a topic that interests you. A more ambitious goal could be to start your own blog. A blog requires frequent writing to constantly provide content and will allow you to learn more about a topic of interest. Try to fit half an hour of writing into your day in order to reap the benefits.
Learn basic survival skills
Being able to have the ability to survive in situations that call for it, such as while lost in the wilderness, will obviously be hugely valuable not only to yourself but also to whoever you may be with at the time. Learning some simple skills could potentially get you or someone else out of a life threatening situation, so it pays to have some basic knowledge on survival. Not only will having these skills better your chances of survival, but will show that you are a capable individual that can be relied upon to handle stressful situations where others would falter.
Being a complete man of the wild isn’t necessary for understanding the fundamentals of survival; by learning some simple primary survival skills you will have the abilities that you need.
First aid. One important skill to have is the ability to tend to an injury with limited resources, and other important first aid skills.
Fire lighting. Another useful skill would be how to start a fire without matches, so if you find yourself lost and unprepared you can keep yourself warm.
Hypothermia recovery. Also learning how to help someone recover from hypothermia may allow you to save someone’s life in the future. There are a number of survival skills that can be learnt and utilised to keep you and others from danger.
To learn basic survival skills, you may find that there is a course near you that you could attend. Also, you could simply read some articles on the internet on survival or watch Youtube videos.
Learn basic handyman skills
Are you the sort of person that has to hire someone else to make any minor repairs on your car or around the house? The fees you have to pay to get those sorts of jobs done are usually far more expensive than they need to be and also require time, as the repair likely won’t be made right away. After all the effort, it would be much more worth your while to just learn how to make the repair yourself. If you learn the skills required for basic repairs, not only would it save you a lot of time and money, but it will make you hugely popular amongst your friends who would be able to employ your services.
In order to become the local handyman that everyone relies on, you need to have some basic skills.
Plumbing. Being able to repair simple plumbing faults would be useful as plumbing systems require the most maintenance in the home. Being able to clear drains and fix leaks is paramount.
Computer repairs. Because most homes now have computers, and problems frequently arise with them, you should be able to solve these problems as they arise. If a software fault occurs, you should be able to run your own diagnostics on your computer and resolve the issue. If it’s more serious and has something to do with the hardware, you should at least know how to open up your PC and see if all the components are in the right positions.
Car maintenance. Being able to perform simple maintenance on your car, such as how to change the oil or clean a spark plug, should also be understood. Although I’ve provided some examples of handyman skills, it’s up to you to decide what you want to know so that your skills suit your own needs.
In order to learn simple handyman skills you could undertake a small course held at a local university, look online for tutorials, or ask your local handyman for some tips.
Imagine what you could achieve being someone who is proficiently skilled and has in depth knowledge in many different fields. You would be considered someone that can be relied upon to do something well or know a particular piece of information in any area. All that is required to achieve this is to use the resources available to you, namely the internet, to constantly be learning new things and developing yourself. So next time you feel the urge to mindlessly browse Reddit or Facebook, think about how your time could instead be spent developing yourself and becoming a better individual.