It’s been two years since I started this blog. During that time, I have undergone quite a journey and the blog has changed to reflect that.
I originally started this blog as a way to share my experiences and what I have learned on gaining weight and muscle. Everywhere, everyone was talking about losing weight and all that, but the fact that there are millions of people who have the opposite problem, that of being underweight, was not being talked about. I wanted to help those people out.
So I started the blog in a very particular niche (gaining weight). At the same time, I started other niche blogs as well, such as in language learning. I was working on several different blogs because that was the prevailing advice I was reading on the internet, start niche blogs… So I did.
However over time, it became quite challenging to update all the different blogs, especially with quality content. I also started blogging at a time when blogging was exploding and the internet was saturated with myriads of blogs in basically every niche imaginable, including all the niches I was blogging on.
How could I differentiate myself from all these other blogs? I decided to focus on my strengths and the unique things that I had developed over the years that very few people had.
I looked at all the different blogs and the people behind them. What I saw reflected the era of specialization that we currently live in. Many of the people running the different blogs were heavily specialized and lacked skills in other areas. The language bloggers were all usually out-of-shape, the fitness bloggers didn’t know much else besides fitness, and many of the social commentary bloggers were really out of touch with reality. Plus many of the big-name travel and lifestyle bloggers had bucket lists that were not that impressive (for some of them I had already done a majority of the things on their list).
The biggest eye-opener was that almost noone was combining all these different things. The people who you would describe as polymaths, those who combined a good body with different mental skills such as polyglottery, could be counted on the fingers of one hand. That is where I could make a great impact.
What was it that I could offer to the world that people would want to learn? My biggest strength was my multi-dimensionalness and the fact that I had actually managed to combine all these different skills. I spoke 6 languages fluently, I had reached elite fitness levels and had been a top track star in high school, I had a very deep knowledge of history (I scored a perfect 800 on the SAT2 World History without even studying back in high school), and I had a knack for learning new things.
I think people would want to know how to reach these high levels of achievement and become multi-dimensional. That’s why I decided to transform what was originally Gain Weight Journal, combine it with my other blogs, and focus on a wider variety of topics. The Renaissance Man Journal was born.
This blog has two main objectives: one is personal and the other one is wider. The personal one is that it helps me reflect on my journey to become the best that I can be and keeps me motivated to keep on learning. By putting down in words what I have learned, I master the concepts better.
The other objective is wider and is meant to help other people who want to embark on a similar journey as myself. It is meant to share my experiences and give tips to people who are really motivated to change their life around.
The information that I am sharing is for free. At the moment, my blog has zero advertisements and all the things I share come at no cost to you. It takes a lot of hard work to produce this blog, much more than I originally envisioned. Since I want to come out with the best, most helpful information out there and that requires a lot of reading and more importantly a lot of research. Some of the things that I came out with (such as the gladiator training article), cannot be found anywhere else on the internet.
Becoming a Renaissance Man
My ultimate goal is to become a Renaissance Man. This blog is meant to describe the different things that I learned on this journey and how it can be applied in real life. You can take it and apply it to your own circumstances.
We are all different, with different minds, different bodies and different backgrounds, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. That is why I try to incorporate different viewpoints and different approaches and throw them all out there. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa. However if you are aware of alternatives, you can find the right approach that will work for you. That is the philosophy behind this blog.
The evolution of this blog has reflected the different insights I gained on my journey. I started off Gain Weight Journal focusing mostly on the physical part of the transformation, the exercises and the nutrition.
Soon I came to realize that the most important part of any transformation is the mindset. I started a fitness blog because many of my friends kept coming up to me asking me tips on what they should do.
However later I came to realize that even if I told them everything that they needed to do step by step, they still wouldn’t apply it. What they were missing is the proper mindset for change. They wanted to change, but weren’t ready to do anything for it.
After that realization, I started focusing more and more on writing about mindset and how to change it. By learning about mindset, I came to understand that the same principles can be leveraged across disciplines in a variety of fields. This realization made it easy to transform the Gain Weight Journal into the Renaissance Man Journal.
If you want to reach any particular destination on your personal journey, you always need to start with the right mindset. Most people don’t reach elite levels not because they can’t, but because they don’t want to, meaning they are not driven enough to do the things necessary to get there. Instead they prefer taking the easy way out and coasting. This then results in mediocrity or worse.
If you want to become a Renaissance Man, then your mindset needs to reflect it and you need to be willing to put in all the effort and hard work that it requires.
There is no magic bullet that will take you to that destination. Sometimes there might be short-cuts, but usually this journey requires hard work, focus and determination.
I am trying to go step by step in order to better understand what it means to be a Renaissance Man. While I do sometimes delve into more particular themes (such as language learning), for the moment I am trying to keep the focus on meta-skills and overarching themes.
For example “learning” is a meta-skill, since it can be applied in different contexts. If you know how to learn, you can apply similar techniques with only a little bit of tweaking in different areas and contexts. Knowing how to learn is a key skill that you need to master if you want to become an expert in different fields.
We are slowly starting to build a Renaissance Man Framework, consisting of the different parts that you need to have and the different things that you need to do in order to become a Renaissance Man.
The most important part about becoming the person you want to become is to first understand yourself. We all have different body types, different minds and different backgrounds and that’s why our journey needs to reflect that. You cannot just take what someone else has done and copy it to the letter, but you need to understand which things are beneficial for you and how you can tweak them to better reflect your own make-up and goals.
You can learn much about yourself by studying personality types and NLP meta-programs. This is the first thing you should do, as it can help you see what type of an approach you should adopt.
The advantage of learning about NLP meta-programs is not only that it will let you understand yourself better, but it will also help you in understanding other people and their behavior. For example, different people perceive time differently and that has an effect on their behavior. When I learned about this, it was a great revelation to me and helped me make sense of why certain people I know act the way they do.
Step 1 – Learn about yourself:
Read the article below:
Personality types: why are you the way you are
You can then use this knowledge in one of two ways:
1) change your internal make-up
2) apply strategies (such as workout routines or learning strategies) that better reflect your internal make-up
For example, take the options vs. procedures meta-program and apply it to the goal of wanting to gain muscle. If you are a procedures type of guy, then you most likely just want to take an already existing workout program and follow it to the letter.
However if you are an options guy, then you want to read up on a bunch of choices, pick your own exercises and create your own custom program. Knowing your internal make-up can greatly help in choosing the best way to accomplish a goal.
Step 2 – Create a Vision for yourself
Once you understand yourself better and have an idea of how you function and why, then you should start reflecting on where you want to be and what you want your ideal self to look like. You need to start crafting a vision for yourself. This will guide all your endeavors.
Read the article below:
How to create a Vision for yourself
Once you have this Vision, the real work can start. You need to make this vision a reality.
Step 3 – Implement a plan to achieve your Vision
In order to achieve your Vision, you need to implement a plan. Having a good productivity system can help you greatly in this.
There are different types of productivity systems out there, for example Getting Things Done (GTD) or the Zen To Done (ZTD). Which system is more suitable for you will greatly depend on your personality (see NLP meta-programs).
For me, I have adopted an agile system. I work in IT and one day I was sitting in SCRUM training (an agile system for the development of IT projects) and had an epiphany that the same system that is used for software systems can be used in your own personal self-development. I thought I was being original, however since then I have learned that other people have had similar thoughts.
For learning more about the agile system of self-development read the article below:
Agile System of Self-Development
You don’t have to adopt the complete system, but pick and choose which parts suit your purposes and which ones you want to use.
The complete system gives you tools and a detailed framework on how to accomplish your goals, but the very essence of an agile system is simplification, and process improvement. So you can pick different elements of the system and simplify it.
The essential parts of the system flow down from the Vision. That is the key part of the system.
Basically what you need to do is have an overall vision, but then break it up into smaller goals. You should give priority to some goals and start working on them straight away. In order to accomplish them, break them down further to even smaller goals.
At the beginning of each month reflect on what you want to accomplish that month. Then set a schedule of when you will work on the goals during that month (but be flexible), then do a similar check-in for every week to plan out your week and a short 15 minute reflection in the morning every day (make that part of your routine).
These few simple steps are enough for you to plan out what you want to achieve for the day, for the week, and for the month, of course always keeping the long-term perspective in mind.
Work on your Mindset
As mentioned before, the mindset is very important for any person who wants to achieve all their goals. If you don’t have the right mindset, then you will never accomplish anything. A lot of what I am trying to do in the blog is to open up your growth mindset (instead of having a fixed mindset).
You need to believe that you can accomplish anything as long as you put your mind to it and are willing to work hard (and smart).
Mindset can be broken down into several parts: motivation, willpower and self-control, mental toughness, persistence, self-discipline, habits, drive…etc. All of these are related and overlap in parts.
Things like willpower or mental toughness are very similar to muscles. You need to train them if you want them to get bigger.
Learn more about these different concepts:
If you want to master any particular skill, then you need to have the right mindset and all the different concepts around mindset down. These are meta-skills that are behind success and failure. Most people who fail at learning some subject or achieving some physical goal, usually do it not because that subject or goal is hard, but because they lack things like willpower, self-discipline, mental toughness…
In order to be able to change, you need to have these taken care of first. These meta-skills are linked to the idea of first principles. First principles type of thinking tries to break down a particular problem into its constituent parts by finding the first principles that are behind the particular subject matter.
If you dig down deep enough, you will find out that most failures in self-improvement boil down to failures in mindset. That’s why the different constituent parts of mindset are the first principles of mastering any skill.
Part of mindset are positive, but also negative types of thinking. Positive thinking can drive you forward, however negative thinking can bring you down. Things like fear, lack of confidence, lack of self-esteem can really hurt your chances at progress. These can then result in limiting beliefs that keep you down.
You need to work on improving this negative state of mind. However people often go at this in the wrong way. Instead of treating the root causes of this negative thinking, they try to treat the symptoms. For example, they try to treat the lack of confidence through affirmations and positive self-talk. For some people that can work, but for most people it will only have a very temporary effect and they will regress into their previous negative state.
Things like affirmations and positive self-talk don’t treat the root causes of what is causing things like a lack of confidence. They are more like the cherry on the cake of any recovery program, but the bulk of the program needs to find the root cause of the problem and treat that. Oftentimes this requires a lot of hard and painful work.
Lack of confidence can stem from events in the deep past, for example having your parents or teachers calling you a failure, or maybe a streak of unlucky events where you failed in achieving some goal that you worked for. These things then need to be looked at and addressed in order for you to be able to move forward.
Lack of success needs to be treated by success, maybe through a series of quick wins that will slowly bring up your confidence in the fields where you lack confidence. Once you have addressed this root cause, then you can add affirmations and positive self-talk in order to strengthen the effect.
Mind and Body
A Renaissance Man strives to have a good mind in a healthy body. In order to get a good body, you need to work hard by working out and eating correctly.
Read the articles below to give you the necessary information to get you started:
Once you have this base, you can apply it to be good at sports, martial arts and other different types of physical activity.
The mind consists of improving things like social skills, but also getting specific knowledge in a variety of fields.
Social skills include things like charisma, humor, conversation, persuasion…etc. These can then be applied in more specific things like storytelling, picking up girls, sales and other things. Many of these are highly synergic. An important subject is also assertiveness and dominance.
Rational thinking is a big skill that needs to be learned and which I have already started covering. I will try to outline some more principles that promote rational thinking. This will add on to material that I will post on learning in general and different strategies that you can apply to learn and understand any type of subject quickly. Learning strategies will serve as a good gateway towards the discussion on creating your own powerful mental models.
Besides this, a Renaissance Man should also have a good knowledge of a variety of subjects like history, physics, biology, languages and many other things. He should also be widely read. So I will periodically try to explore all kinds of domains.
Future of the blog
This blog is part of my quest to make sense of the world and to adapt those lessons that I learn on the way to myself in order to be the best that I can be. The blog will evolve as I evolve and as I gain more insight into what makes people tick.
Throughout the course of this blogging journey, I will try to develop all the things listed above in more detail. In the near future, I will continue on delving deeper into mindset and the mental aspects of success. This should prepare the ground for going into a discussion of different social skills, and also different expert subjects. I will focus on describing different strategies on how to learn efficiently and effectively.
I will also go back to covering fitness topics, as this is a very important and interesting topic. And what blog would be complete without incredible adventures and surpassing limits?
The final result should be a refined Renaissance Man Framework that you can apply in your own life. All the advice will contain actionable tips that you can implement, but also some theory to help you understand why and how this stuff works. After all, this is a self-improvement community for smart guys. 🙂
So in summary, what is this blog all about? It’s about living the life you want the way you want it. It’s about having a job you actually enjoy, doing extraordinary things, traveling, and improving yourself to the best of your abilities.
The motto and aspirations of this blog are to inspire people and can be summarized in two sentences:
1) Be someone great.
2) Do something great.
Hope you will join me on this journey. What types of things do you want to know more about and I should cover deeper?
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