Level Up Renaissance People to Polymaths

TL:DR | It is the renaissance person, the one who knows EVERYTHING. Are they a polymath, are they a generalist, or do they stand out on their own? Let's talk about it.

4 min read
Level Up Renaissance People to Polymaths
The Renaissance Man, also known as a polymath, is named after Leonardo daVinci, the quintessential example of a Renaissance Man. A Renaissance Man was a well-rounded individual, gifted and skilled in many different areas.

How does it compare to Polymath?

By answering this we can understand how it fits in the overall Multidisciplinary Spectrum as well.

The idea of a renaissance person is that of the Italian Renaissance, but there were others such as the Islamic "Nadah" as well. In any case the idea of that kind of person, is that they "know everything".

While I think the concept of knowing everything is blown out of proportion. The polymaths of the time did know basically all that was needed to know in that era. Some like Da Vinci may have known everything there could know in that time period, and more.

The point was to explore all avenues and subjects, and this broad strokes approach is what defines the Renaissance person. The difference from that and Polymath, is that the polymath is more "focused".

Saying that I know that many many polymaths go for swaths of information too, it isn't a stark contrast. The polymath however has 3 or more EXPERT level areas of knowledge. Beyond that the other areas of knowledge are just bonus in a way.

Whereas the Renaissance person just has a variety of areas of knowledge, and is spread out as much as possible. Although I do feel like they have spent more time in those areas than say a "Jack of all trades".

Why level up from Renaissance person?

When I started this level up to polymath series, the Journey to Polymath newsletter wasn't really a thing yet. However one thing that was clear to me, was that each of these terms are important and special in their own right.

For example some people only see themselves as a multipotentialite, and that is okay.

If you are happy where you are, then by all means. However I know that there are a huge chunk of people at all levels, from multipotentialite to generalist, to even specialist that want to progress forward.

That is who this series is for, so that you can visualize how to take the next step. I think for the other terms it is a bit simpler. A multi has the potential to do many things, so do them essentially. A generalist or specialist they have spent time pushing past plateaus already, so they just are a "matter of time" if you will.

Although the Renaissance person I think is an odd one out, and yes I think you can be one in the modern world. In fact perhaps this might be the MOST applicable given the web3 renaissance sprouting up.

I'm a Proto-Polymath

Perhaps the first or second step towards polymathy is allowing yourself to go as wide as you want. That way you don't regret not pursuing other avenues, when you find the ones that you want to stick to.

I don't call myself a polymath, despite having expertise that could be considered top 20% (swimming instruction and content repurposing are two that come to mind). What is important to me is the journey, and the term that I most identify with is Proto-Polymath. Something that I coined for simplicity's sake (not sure if anyone else came up with it too).

It seems that the renaissance person and proto-polymath are one in the same. Note: I did allude to the Generalist being the proto-polymath as well, but they all encompass the same area on the Spectrum.


Renaissance (Wo)Men - The Multidisciplinary Spectrum S01E05
Someone who deems themselves a master of many areas, and no longer a specialist. Mastering takes ages, but is well worth it in the end. Perhaps by mastering the multiple areas, you might create something new in the process.
The Rise of the Polymaths and the Internet Renaissance
The initiation of a new era for humanity, and the spark of a brand new internet renaissance.
Polymath 🧮 - PolyInnovator LLC | Official Website for Dustin Miller
There is a world of innovations out there to be found, and it is going to take a Polymath to find them. Subscribe to the PolyInContent Digest!
The Journey to Polymathy [PolyPRO Exclusive]
A post that had been in the making for a while. The Journey to Polymathy series is a long running one, and this is the culmination of that. All of those ideas, and it helps you plan your own journey as well.

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