The 5 Most Important Things I’ve Learned (To Date)

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I absolutely love learning

Two thousand and sixteen was my best year. I intended it to be. It was not 100% perfect or without difficulty by any means. Part of the reason it was my best is that throughout the year I prioritized learning and investing in self-improvement.

These are the top 5 things I learned in my quest for self-awareness, creativity, fitness, fulfillment and happiness.

“If you know about something but nothing’s changed, then you haven’t learned it.”

–Tony Robbins

 

1. Reading is Not Synonymous with Retention

THE PROBLEM:

It’s not what you’ve read, it’s what you remember and comprehend. Just because we read a piece of information does not mean that we actually stored it for later use or application. That “top 6 productivity tricks” article you read 6 months ago—try and recall more than 2 out of 6. Not so easy. Turns out that wasn’t a very productive read after all.

WHAT I LEARNED:

This was a major area of learning for me that has been building for some time now but crystallized in 2016. I love to read, but at best I can remember a few key takeaways from books and articles. That deteriorates over time. Pretty soon I’ve forgotten what I invested those minutes and hours in, or can barely share a concise summary, let alone repeatedly apply it to my own life. In our modern digital age, we are barraged with information constantly and this is only valuable if we can utilize this information and recall it when the opportunity arises.

SOLUTIONS/BREAKTHROUGHS:

The real productivity hack is to write everything valuable down and review it. Now when I read I take notes on 4×6 index cards. I also frequently and liberally underline or take notes within the book itself. Periodically I review these and refresh my memory of the most valuable insights I deemed worthy to write down or underline. I did not create these systems by any means, I directly modeled them from two amazing people. Ryan Holiday and Maria Popova. Just click their names and I’ve linked to two articles that got me going in this direction.

Book Notes

Taking notes when I read on index cards and within the books has helped me TREMENDOUSLY!

2. Action Bias—From Wishing to Willing

THE PROBLEM:

I have a large scale vision of what I want to become, contribute, and accomplish in life. That isn’t a problem—unless I’m not taking action towards it. It is easy to have dreams. It is easy to wish. We need our willpower, effort, and action to ever make it real.

“…Huge difference between knowing about something and knowing how to do it.

–Tony Robbins

WHAT I LEARNED:

Starting is half the battle. Look up Lao Tzu’s famous quotes and you’ll see the 1000 mile journey one. Beginning something that is important to us when we feel under-qualified, under-confident, and under-funded is not easy, but it is necessary. Everyone who’s ever accomplished or created anything started somewhere. Their conditions were not perfect, even if they have a tremendous success story that makes it seem like they are holier than thou. Starting wasn’t easy for them, but they did it. I had to start my writing dream for real in 2016. I just did it one Wednesday. Now the ball is rolling, now the momentum is building.

Action Bias

Be ready to act!

SOLUTIONS/BREAKTHROUGHS:

Simplicity. Start practicing with low stakes frequently. As skills build, raise the stakes. Think about what life will be like looking back with gratitude for having begun something that matters. Now imagine looking back knowing you never started and feel the pain of regret. My solution was asking myself the question: Do I want it or not?

3. Consistency

THE PROBLEM:

I’m intense. I relish this as a strength, but it is also a weakness. Intensity can be draining, it’s a pace that’s past sustaining. In my past, I frequently have given everything I have for as long as I can, and then burnout. After I’m exhausted I find myself still with mountains to climb.

Consistency

The consistency has to be right for the vision to work…just like with food.

WHAT I LEARNED:

Pace is the name of the game. Two runners embark on a 5-mile run—the one who sustains a consistent output will have better results than the one who sprints until exhaustion and needs time to recover then repeats the same pattern. Consistency was a weakness of mine in many areas  I aimed to reverse this and make it a strength.

SOLUTIONS/BREAKTHROUGHS:

“Intensity cannot replace consistency.” —Simon Sinek

I will keep my intensity but aim to practice and produce continually at a pace that I can handle. Intensity is an asset, but it cannot be all I rely on. My solution is to be intentional and decisive with my time—always making time for what really matters. Chipping away at the bigger picture, rather than swinging a 100lb sledgehammer trying to do it all at once.

4. The Importance of Priorities

Priorities

Priorities are what we are actually doing…not what we know we SHOULD be doing.

THE PROBLEM:

I want so much in life. Not materialistically, but experientially. There is a finite amount of time for all of us. 24 hours in a day, and ballpark 80 years to live if we take adequate care of ourselves. The problem is when to do what. What to be patient with and what to do now. My problem is doing too many things at the same time, not truly focused on the deep work it requires to manifest what I’m after.

WHAT I LEARNED:

I would rather accomplish or take action towards the key factors that make me happiest and most fulfilled. That means eliminating things. That means not everything will get done. That means learning to ignore the part of my brain that spurns me towards attacking 10 projects at a time and cutting that down to 3 at most. My personal bandwidth is exceeded by my ambitions. I download faster than I upload. My ideas come in tremendous flashes of insight, but my actions and ability to execute on these ideas are more like building a fire with friction—lots of time and energy must be expended before it starts to become real.

SOLUTIONS/BREAKTHROUGHS:

Continually asking what is most important? I do this several times a day, and it is now my go-to question when I have a major decision. There are secondary questions that stem from this too. What is most important right now? What is the most important long term? (1 week? 1 month? 6 months? 1 year? 6 years?) What is most important for others? The last question I need to ask a lot more. I’m overcoming a selfish behavior bias and it’s not all about me. I wrote more about The Reality of Priorities here.

5. Frame of Reference

THE PROBLEM:

“What things mean to you is always determined by what you compare them to, or contrast them against.”

—Tony Robbins

We are constantly filtering what comes into our experience through our own beliefs, past experiences, and our prejudices or fears. We need the ability to detach from our default frame of reference to understand and empathize with others. Looking at our own flaws in our worldview is not easy.

WHAT I LEARNED:

This is going to be something I write a lot more about in coming pieces. Frame of reference is like a thesis I plan on spending a lot of time on. I think I learned this based on my expectations of myself and how generally I can’t expect the same from others. I have put myself through some very challenging situations, seen some extreme wealth from up close, and explored who I am as an individual in depth. These factors determine how I view the world and interact with others. I can’t expect someone who’s never challenged themselves to completely relate to who I am or what I’m working towards. I can’t expect someone who’s never seen the insidious dark side of wealth to understand my growing admiration of minimalism and anti-consumer rhetoric. I definitely can’t expect someone to understand me who doesn’t understand themselves.

SOLUTIONS/BREAKTHROUGHS:

“To influence someone you need to understand what already influences them.”

—Tony Robbins

This quote helped bring awareness beyond my own frame of reference. I have a somewhat optimistic and positive bias (deliberately) that many do not share. The worldview we bring with us can be of great service, but we need the awareness of what influences our own worldview. Where did it come from? Did I consciously choose it or was it just what I became by default? Two people can look at the same event, and see different things. One might perceive an opportunity, the other a crisis. If part of our belief structure is not beneficial we can put in the work to re-evaluate and re-create our own beliefs. How do you see the world?

Frame

The way we view the world is malleable. It can change. It can also change what we are looking at.



 

This list of 5 learning experiences has all been part of a journey towards self-actualization. I am not perfect. I am not better than anyone.

I am learning.

I am growing.

I am working on giving and contributing more, at levels beyond myself.

That’s why I wrote this. To share some things I’ve been focused on and have helped me dramatically with happiness, fulfillment, and inner peace. I wish the same for you.

How To Unleash Your Soul (With Guidance From Tony Robbins)

The Massive Crowd Photo Credit: Not Known (let me know)

The Massive Crowd
Photo Credit: Not Known (let me know)

 

I was there. I was in Dallas when the fire started—the fire that won’t go out. I attended Unleash The Power Within, Anthony Robbins entry level event. And I was unleashed. I’ve definitely been unplugged from the matrix for many years now, but the process of mastery is never ending. Realizing my full potential will require a lifetime commitment and I enthusiastically accept that demand.

Fire At The Gates Photo Credit: Lina Marie Acosta

Fire At The Gates
Photo Credit: Lina Marie Acosta

Before I begin I must preface this. Throughout this piece, if there is a sentence or phrase in bold/italics is a direct takeaway from the seminar. Anything that is bold is an outstanding piece of information, and anything that is bold, and italicized is a gemstone of wisdom that I hope you take and enrich your life to the utmost with. All of the phrases that fall into the categories above are not my own, I don’t own the copyrights to them. I didn’t explicitly dissect and reproduce the whole seminars curriculum, just extracted things from my notes and memories—some things may be slightly misquoted or not exact verbatim.  If there is anything that violates any precedent or infringes let me know and I’ll revise the piece.

WHY?

Why did I decide to go? I decided because I’m evolving. Because I refuse to allow myself to get caught up in a life that I didn’t consciously design. Because I need every opportunity to grow. Because I want to contribute beyond myself and learn the best ways to make that happen. Did I answer your question? Hope so. There’s another underlying reason—I was pulled.

I want to tell you everything that happened that fateful weekend and how it has been a catalyst for several areas of my life that I’m committed to improving. I want to tell you all this for a few reasons: firstly, to provide value to YOU—the reader—I want you to take something out of this article that is inspirational and actionable. Secondly, to review the copious notes and memories that are stored in my notebooks and brain—re-living and re-integrating the teachings and wisdom that I was exposed to. Lastly, I want to share all of this to truly express a truth—we have 100% responsibility for our experience of life. 

I am sharing the experience in 4 parts: What happened before the event leading up to it, what happened at the event, what’s been happening after, and the most valuable takeaways. If you’re only interested in the takeaways scroll to the bottom I don’t blame you. But, there are insights sprinkled throughout the before, during and after parts that are just as important. Let’s begin.

BEFORE THE EVENT

I committed to attending Unleash the Power Within and seeing Anthony Robbins over two months before it was scheduled to take place. I made it a MUST to go there and learn. I leveraged my resources and took action to make it happen. Once I was registered there was a homework assignment in the form of getting a program from Tony and completing it. Unlike in school, I actually did my homework and enjoyed it. I took a course called ‘Creating Lasting Change’ and it was very relevant and deep with acuity. I told a few people that I’d be going to this event—most of them didn’t “get it”. But, then again most people misunderstand me. In the days leading up to the even,t I began to use Tony’s Hour of Power and Priming morning rituals to start my day in a peak state (sooooo much peak state coming up). This was good. I actually love doing this ritual in the morning. In 2015 I spent a few months consistently practicing but fell out of the habit (much to my detriment). I think one of the most important things I did before the event was this: I created an R.P.M. Plan. See I try to study Tony’s work the way Tony himself would study it—intensely focused and taking action on it. What’s an R.P.M. Plan? It’s a method Anthony Robbins teaches to bring intent and focus to how we use our time. It stands for Results, Purpose, Massive Action Plan. What do you want? Why do you want it? And How are you going to get there? (what’s your  M.A.P. ?) Here are a few links to resources on this methodology (PDF, WEBSITE). I did this process before attending to get clear on what I wanted, why I wanted it and how I was going to make it happen.

Take Massive Action Photo Credit: Brenda Sisson

Take Massive Action
Photo Credit: Brenda Sisson

In summary, before the event, I prepared and became intentional. Attending an event of this magnitude should be approached with a reverence. You’re investing time into it that you can never get back (the money you can get back) so why not plan and prepare to be fully committed?

DURING THE EVENT (How to Get the Most Out of a Seminar)

I was there to play. I was all in. During Unleash the Power Within I was there to learn as much as possible, and immerse myself in Anthony Robbins material in a fun and social environment. I was there to create breakthroughs. I gave everything I had at the event: laughing, dancing, clapping, screaming, crying, shaking my ass, and just going “full out” as the culture calls it. By the fourth day, my voice had completely gone. Couldn’t make a peep. But, that ended up being a fun exercise in non-verbal communitcation and listening. I gave my entire being to an active involvement and providing the necessary effort in each moment. In order to make that happen, I consciously decided to not utilize my phone as much as possible—which is more feasible than you think. I left only sending a handful of text messages, posting once on Instagram and posting one to two daily updates on Snapchat. I knew that being there wouldn’t be nearly as valuable if I was on my phone constantly distracted. I actually put my phone on airplane mode during the event, and I’m grateful I chose to be that way. There were lots of people I noticed doing otherwise, but that’s their choice and path I shouldn’t judge. But, a teaching we learned there is whatever you learn is linked to the emotional state in which you learned it. So knowing that; being happy, enthusiastic and free of distractions was my prerogative. Thousands seemed to be on the same page.

At events of this scale (7000+ participants), there is an energy in the air. A vibe that is strong and pronounced. I met some amazing people, and proximity is power. I definitely got some great contacts and networked, but I truly became most focused on the overall experience and learning the most I could rather than handing out business cards wilily-nilly. During this seminar, I was constantly taking notes and absorbing everything I possibly could. Sitting for 50h during a weekend could be monotonous, so the organizers and Tony continually had the audience change our physiology and enter into a peak state. I loved this! The repetition of this procedure let us embed it deeply in our nervous system and we created movement patterns to trigger this and a state of absolute certainty. I’m so grateful to have this tool in my arsenal for my future endeavors.

So what does that exactly mean? Basically several times a day we would celebrate like we just won the SuperBowl. Cheering, screaming, dancing, emoting, and allowing a full blast unleashing of our inner soul. I remember thinking that this is so awesome—how many people practice celebrating like this or ever even know how it feels? They settle for seeing it on TV, seeing others celebrate a championship or major achievement. They don’t have it in their own nervous system—they can’t summon it at will. Of all the skills we learned, I think this is one of the most powerful and potentially overlooked. Learning how to celebrate at maximum intensity and what that feels like. It feels incredible. I now understand how it will feel, and what I will do at the crowning moments in my life. Also, how I can bring added power to the small victories too. Who cares what other people think? I’m doing it as often as possible.

 

Unleashed!  Photo Credit: Trinh Tran-Shiozaki

Unleashed!
Photo Credit: Trinh Tran-Shiozaki

After our first day, entering peak state many times, we were faced with overcoming and releasing our biggest fear—then walking over hot coals to show that we can conquer anything. My biggest fear was rejection. I participated with my full focus towards the activities to overcome it, and I honestly know now I no longer am controlled by that fear. It has been released and no longer perpetuates my mind. If it were to rise up at any future moment I would face it and own it—no doubt in my mind. After that, we entered peak state again and walked across fire! To be totally truthful I wasn’t scared beforehand, or during—I was ready for any pain that may have occurred. Fortunately, none did, and I along with thousands of others rose up to the challenge and defeated hesitancy and fright.

The next day there was some extremely negative news coverage that was circulating on the internet. I got multiple text messages and emails asking if I was burned and maimed. Laughable really. In actuality, less than 1% got minor burns, but the media chose to blow it way out of proportion and spread fear. (Heres a nice piece from Inc,and Huffington Post on what really happened)

Later in the program Tony was in the audience and noticed a young lady sitting there. Her name was Annie, she was 6 years old. He asked her “did you walk on fire?”

“Yes.” She said.

“Did you burn your feet off and die?” he asked.

“No.” She said shaking her head adorably.

That memory really stands out in my mind. So many memories do. It’s hard to even properly write how this experience has shaped my life and everything I’ve learned, but I’ll keep trying.

Another major thing we did at Unleash the Power Within was to take on 3 limiting beliefs we held, destroy them and replace them with 3 new empowering beliefs. I literally felt my brain rewire and I can’t even say the old beliefs anymore—let alone write them down. But I would love to share some of my new beliefs. My old bullshit beliefs were in 3 categories: financial, relationship, and ethical. My old bullshit belief in finance was replaced with this empowering gem—money is a skill that I am learning and mastering. That’s what plays in my head now not the bullshit. It’s awesome. I literally have something short circuit in my brain if I even try to think or say the old beliefs. I just go to the new ones now. It’s amazing.

Can this happen to anybody that attends? I think only if you really give your best effort and focus to the exercise. If you’re in your head saying “what is this crap?” then that question is not going to provide you with the right frame of mind or answer. But if you visualize and truly block out everything but the task at hand then yes I believe that a willing student can learn to do this. I understood how this process worked intellectually, but to see it and feel it work was something else entirely. Taking notes boosts information retention to 40-50% (from 10% if just passively listening), but interacting with energy can boost retention to 80-90%. What that means is that interacting with energy during this process of transformation is why it retained for me—whereas passively listening would have 70% less efficacy for another person.

We did so much more than I can even write about but to wrap up this section of what happened DURING THE EVENT, I’ll give a few more summations. We studied Business Mastery with Mike Melio and learned the 7 Forces of Business Mastery. This was amazing and so valuable to where I am in life right now. Studying this material as I’m starting my own business is beyond advantageous. We had the pleasure of Joseph McClendon III guiding us through many hours of ass shaking, and truth telling. He also instructed us on the day where we focused on health and wellbeing—a tremendous day and experience.

There is much more I could espouse on but it’s not only what you learn, it’s what you DO with what you learn that matters. So let’s talk about what happened and is happening still after the event.

AFTER THE EVENT (Putting it Into Practice)

When it’s not working, that’s when you know it’s working. Change your state, use the teachings. Some people go through everything and then just go back to living their “normal lives”. I simply can’t do that. I’m sure I could, but I won’t. When I got home from the seminar I took massive action. I quit two jobs the next day. Burn the boats: take the island. I understood that remaining in the same situation is not going to lead me to my intended destination or produce the result that I’m committed to. So why wait? I have contingencies in place and a small runway to work off of. Do I want my dreams or not? Simple to say the yes, harder to embody the yes. I’m not about what’s easy anymore though. Unless it’s the ease that comes from the repetition of a skill until it’s honed and automatic. That kind of ease I can dig. Just wanting “things to be easier” is not me. So I’m the perfect student for the material that was taught at Unleash the Power Within. I am going to use it. I am going to keep studying it. I am going to realize my ultimate vision of my full potential. Learning is creating a relationship between the known and the unknown. I love learning. I truly do. So with that as my attitude, I cannot ever completely fail. For in failure I will find instruction and allow my love of learning to distil truth out of tribulation. After this event, I knew that if I didn’t keep my commitment to growth and learning in order to facilitate contribution at the highest level—I could regress. I learned that conditioning and training never end on the path to mastery. Certainty is created by YOU, not your environment. As said by Anthony Robbins.

Up Close and Personal Photo Credit: Lina Maria Acosta

Up Close and Personal
Photo Credit: Lina Maria Acosta

 

I came up with this metaphor to illustrate what life is like after the event for any participant. Tony is like Amazon—a way to get anything delivered—but YOU must make use of it. That treadmill, or kettlebell, or yoga mat gathering dust does work. It’s not Amazon’s fault that after it was delivered you didn’t use it. It’s not Tony’s fault that he taught you something and you didn’t apply it repeatedly until it became a habit. We all need to utilize what’s around us, and what we know–not just understand it.

I’m putting in the work after the event to make sure that I got the most out of the investment. I will schedule review time, and continue the learning. You wouldn’t work out for a weekend and say “Well, I’m fit for life. Glad that’s done”. No. That’s not how it works. After the event is the most important. Every day is the most important. What can I do today to embody the man I strive to become? That’s a question I ask myself now.

I took so much away from Unleash the Power Within. Taking it away is great. Keeping it with me is greater.

TAKEAWAYS AND HIGH-VALUE INSIGHTS

If I bored you with my previous sections I apologize. My skills as a writer are under development and perhaps I could have been more concise. With that in mind, I’ll practice that here. As follows are some of the most vital teachings and takeaways from my experience at Unleash the Power Within.

  • Complexity is the enemy of execution.
  • You can only build on success, you can’t build on failure. 
  • Our culture reinforces blame of others.
  • Words have a biochemical effect on the body 
  • Who you spend time with is who you become.
  • Information is potential power—execution trumps information every time. 
  • Stress is a code word for FEAR.
  • We are suffering so much because we are overlooking the gifts around us.
  • Trade expectation for appreciation and our whole life changes in an instant.
  • The Past does not equal the future. Biography does not equal destiny. 
  • The culture wants you to be one thing—to keep you simple. (my blog and beliefs/values are the antithesis of this)
  • People will give up goals and dreams to meet their needs.
  • A Strategy is a system of producing a consistent result.
  • Faith is freedom.
  • A belief is a feeling of certainty about what something means.
  • CHANGE YOUR STATE! (PHYSIOLOGY)
  • There is a way beyond the way you’ve been programmed and that’s to program YOURSELF. 
  • People who succeed long term live on pull not push.
  • Only 3 things hold you back in business: 
    • Failure to anticipate
    • Lack of follow through
    • Your own psychology and mindset
  • You can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time.
  • Leaders are READERS: Minimum 30 minutes a day. (A book, not a fluff piece, social media or magazine or list-acle.)

There is a lot more I could write about the experience and countless more takeaways and insights I could share. In place of that I would say look up Anthony Robbins and listen to some of his free stuff on YouTube or get his latest podcast to let the man illustrate his teachings himself. He’s the master I’m the apprentice. I can’t currently convey his work as well as he can, but I hope I was able to at least pique your interest.

Between my writings and this taste of some of the best takeaways I gleaned, I hope I gave you some insights into what it’s like to go to Unleash the Power Within, how it has affected me, and how to make the most out of it if you did go to that or any other seminar.

If you read the whole post I’m super grateful for your time, and if you liked it please leave a comment, and if it sucked also do that. I want to get better and welcome all feedback.

A New Habit: Writing Wednesday–001

It may sometimes be here on this blog, but more likely than anything is I’ll do the majority of my Writing Wednedays over on medium. Here’s the first of what I want to be a new habit that deepens my writing practice and brings consistency to my creative weeks.

Was able to churn out over 1k words in 28 minutes, not bad. Let me know what you thought in the comments below, or write me a response on Medium.

Without further delay here’s the piece:

 

View story at Medium.com

The Day I Met Tim Ferriss

I love goals. I’ve been setting them for years. I’ve got quite a few done, but many more loom over me spurning me forward. How I began setting goals is a somewhat vague recollection, but I’ll explain as best I can. I think that goals began to take focus between 12-18 years old. I wasn’t constantly setting goals and using visualization techniques, but I was making lists. I could go on about lists for thousands of words, and a little later down the line, I will. But for now, let’s just say I started making simple lists at 12. The freedom of a blank page and pen captivated me. What am I going to put on my list? What do I want to do? Both questions are also a very foundational element of goal setting—understanding the objective (goal). What is desired? For me the process of living list driven made me suited for making a list of goals. I believe setting goals and making lists is a skill like any other that can be developed and improved en route to future mastery. I continue making lists and setting goals and will likely until I cease to breathe.

Okay why all the goal rhetoric? “I get it you like lists.” What does any of this have to do with your catchy title? I’ll explain, don’t hasten to the headline and miss a chance to understand my intention of valuable takeaways sprinkled throughout a true story. I did meet Tim Ferriss, but I don’t think it would have happened without having that as a clearly defined goal on a list I made in 2012. No, though the meeting was unexpected and indeed fortuitous, I do not believe it was an accident. I think timing can suggest something is accidental, or ‘by chance’. But, looking at the broader scope of multitudes of simultaneous occurrences in visible and non-visible dimensions you can’t deny the power of intentions. Why so many big words in one sentence? It was my intention. Why did I get to meet Tim, and not perhaps have this goal go unrealized as words on a piece of paper? Intentions. It was something that I kept in my mind and intentionally gave focus to. I chose the outcome and had faith that it would happen one day. I’ve learned that forcing timing rarely works, and I’m working on allowing things to be serendipitous, intentionally. Okay, that’s one of my favorite words, don’t know if that’s apparent yet but I’ll lay off of it for the rest of this piece I promise.

I’ll include the text of a piece I’ve written on Medium here to continue the narrative, and I’ll add the YouTube video here once I’ve gotten the music added and it’s uploaded. The video will be #21 of the #52WkVideoChallenge and its taken even longer than any other not because of time conflicts but through more effort on making it a good use of 5-6 minutes of a viewer’s time. Making sure it’s concise and as good as I can do with my abilities right now. That being it’s done and here it is:

 


 

 

 

This story has both the accidental and the purposeful. A balance between dumb luck, and the willingness to act and commit. Here’s my piece from Medium:

 

View story at Medium.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why when I put an intent on paper does it get power? What do you think of this post?

 

Let me know in the Comments below. Grateful, and hope to inspire you through my own chasing of dreams.

Defining Your Renaissance with 27th Renaissance and Modern da Vinci

Pantheon is derived from the Ancient Greek
Pantheon is derived from the Ancient Greek “Pantheon” (Πάνθεον) meaning “of, relating to, or common to all the gods” —Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheon,_Rome

Polymath, expert generalist, renaissance man. All representative of the life-long learners quest, the quest for full potential. Is a person made to fit into a narrow niche? Or, to expand across all fields of achievement? I believe everybody can have more than just one skill, talent, or ability that can be developed to a high level. Not everybody who chooses a singular role and perfects it is settling in life. Personally, I would feel like I was settling for less than I’m truly capable of, by going for one thing. Not going after all the things that fascinate me would haunt me. I enjoy learning, practicing, and immersing myself in many diverse realms. Many true experts are without a doubt some of the most disciplined and committed individuals to live throughout human history. But, countless souls may never even reach their full potential in any one endeavor. Falling into the grey and forgotten hinterlands between amateur and master. There is however, a rare breed: a breed that is diverse yet singular, masterful yet child like, competent and curious. This rare breed is the Renaissance (Wo)man. The path of renaissance is not reserved for the masculine. Truth be told woman are just as adept if not better at becoming skilled in a wide repertoire of capabilities. Anybody can choose to learn, practice and master many things.

Within everybody, there is a higher calling (or callings). For many they may have gone dormant, but deep within it remains. A spark of inspiration, or a faint voice saying—“Imagine that! Go. Go after that!” Listen to that voice and try what you’ve always wanted. Your path to renaissance begins with the clear understanding of what the ultimate version of yourself would look like. And, what capabilities they would have. Can you imagine if you were able to do everything that you’d ever dreamed of? Do this as an exercise: write down notes, record audio, or even make a video…what would I be able to do if I’d learned everything that interested me? What if I let all my passions express themselves? What things when looking back on your life in it’s last stages you’d regret not doing, or wonder to yourself what you could have done had you just tried. Those are the things to consider when defining your Renaissance. If I look at my list it’s the ultimate realization of allowing myself to have dreams and share them. Building the skills necessary to reach even 50% of what I’ve listed will make me into a much better man. There’s something cool about working on a list like this. Once certain skills become absorbed, practiced, and repeated until enough mastery  has been attained something interesting happens, the list becomes shorter. Shorter because mastering the right skills first, can speed up the ability to learn and absorb others. Learning how to learn is the gift and ultimate reward from defining and pursuing your own renaissance. Learn a second language like French; Italian and Spanish become that much easier. Understand how to de-bone a chicken, and duck, pheasant, and turkey become simplified. Learn oratory, and political power can follow. Some abilities  may seem completely separate or disconnected, but their connectivity reveals itself through pursuing deep and diverse learning. Masters can draw inspiration from anywhere. Their brains remain connected to the core of their abilities and  constantly curious. A trip to the cinema could spark a new painting, essay, or piece of music. A view to an art gallery may give the Master Chef insight into a new dish. Learning how to learn, keeps the brain fully active, and a lifetime of enjoyment can ensue.

The intricacies of a Tibetan Sand Mandala--complex, masterful and with multitudes of individual aspects making a complete entity.

The intricacies of a Tibetan Sand Mandala–complex, masterful and with multitudes of individual aspects making a complete entity.

I compel you to define what your renaissance means—if you’re reading this you’ve got one to craft. Become part of the under-recognized Renaissance Period we’re all currently a part of. Every industry and field is having a renaissance as technology and information become widespread. It’s easier now to be a person of renaissance than ever before. Leonardo Da Vinci would absolutely be Crushing it today. Just imagine what someone who was so diversely masterful could do in our day and age. Then think of what we the individual are doing. Can we do more, be more and become more? Yes. Let’s craft our own renaissance. Are you with me?
As it turns out, I’m not alone on this pursuit. There are others already pursuing their renaissance, and I’m always thrilled to meet another striver and polymath. Serendipitously through Twitter I met such an individual: Michael Mehlberg who runs Modern Da Vinci is actualizing his own renaissance and, like myself, helping others do the same through his blog–Enter: Modern Da Vinci:

What goals drive your behavior? Which challenges excite your passions? Can you name a few activities that renew and revive you?

With a little thought, these answers will come. We all have driving goals, exciting challenges, and reviving activities. Whether we consciously know what these goals, challenges, and activities are, they motivate us. But until we make them conscious, they are nothing more than motivators. By forcing them to be a part of our daily routine, we can turn them into a personal renaissance.

I’d be lying if I claimed to completely understood my own personal renaissance. No matter how much we simplify, life is complicated. No matter how easy they seem at first blush, our goals end up being loftier than expected. But I recognized that I needed to tame these complications and overconfidence. It took a specific exercise to provide the insight that allowed my personal renaissance to take shape.

Sitting at work, tired of countless emails and interruptions, I took a “thinking day” to redefine important priorities in my work. Many thoughts raced through my head that day. But one imaginative exercise in which I pictured myself 10 years in the future, set the stage for my renaissance and Modern da Vinci.

Take the time to think...

Taking a thinking day helped define my personal renaissance… a life-long pursuit of discovering learning and creating.

Surprisingly, I pictured myself doing something quite different than my current profession. I pictured myself studying, learning, inventing, and working to help people solve complex problems with creative solutions. I pictured myself healthy, confident, and knowledgeable on a wide range of topics–a true modern renaissance man–always interesting, and always helpful.

Of course, not all men picture themselves studying and inventing in their day job. Those aspirations were my own; personal in nature and driven by my character. But many of us do picture ourselves as healthy, confident, and knowledgeable people. I knew that I could pursue these goals myself, but I also wondered if I could help others to the same. I knew that, if I were to do so, I would have to make this pursuit public. Hence, Modern da Vinci was born. It was a way to publicize new knowledge, discuss new experiences, and help others find their own path to becoming a confident, interesting, helpful, lifelong learner.

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to recognize the incredible period of history in which we live. We have never before better understood freedom, technology, culture, art, or science. Like the classical 14th century European renaissance period, modern art, music, and technology flourish. At times, it feels like we are crossing a bridge between our age and the ultra-modern, high-tech, culturally beautiful future.

I often wonder if, looking through history books 500 years from now, children learn about the 21st century as a modern renaissance period. I often wonder if we should recognize this for ourselves today. Perhaps by recognizing it we can build a bridge to such a future. Perhaps by staying curious, by constantly learning, and by following our passions we can better recognize opportunities and live a fuller life with fewer regrets.

The World Awaits.

We live in a time where nearly every city is full of countless possibilities. Art, music, and technology flourish all around us. We live in an amazing time where all of us can create, learn and follow our passions.

Now more than ever, it’s important to study, learn, invent, stay healthy, and push yourself to grow. You have limitless opportunities at your fingertips with which to inspire yourself and others. Through Modern da Vinci, I hope to inspire others to push themselves to become more knowledgeable, grow more confident, and achieve more. It all starts with defining your own personal renaissance.

I sincerely hope you are inspired to create and maintain your own personal renaissance. Find your passions and explore them. Maintain your curiosity dig into life. Most importantly, never stop learning. And while your renaissance will change (sometimes daily), you will clear your path through life and be able to seize any opportunity along the journey.


Life is a great journey. Defining, and pursuing your Renaissance will make it a more rich experience. Thank you to my friend Modern Da Vinci for his insights and thoughts. We hope you find all the things you want in life and learn to become a true master of your own Renaissance.


I’m At Brendon Burchard’s Worlds Greatest Speaker Training: Review (Day 3)

DAY 3:

5:45AM

Back on my grind with my warrior path. Knew I needed to get in the gym this morning and get my body back into my priorities. Just a quick workout: run half mile on 15% Incline at 6mph, chest press 3×12 w 135 lbs, leg raises 3×15, Hammer Curl 25/12, 35/10, 45/8 45/8, 20/15, and myotatic crunch 3×15. Nothing epic on a Spartan training level, but a good travel workout.

8:45AM

Ready for a great day of learning and interaction, as I get ready to enter the conference for day 3. Having a great experience so far, let’s hope it continues.

1:55 PM

Enjoying lunch break and working by the pool.

Enjoying lunch break and working by the pool.

Poolside work. Getting back to planning my days with more intention. The morning session was wonderful. Lot’s of time with Bo on stage and he is so charismatic. Beyond charisma. I want to attend his workshop just as bad as I want to attend Rogers, or this one again. Learning to have the same level of presence and dominance on stage or in any discussion the same way Bo Eason does will be a great tool in my future, and I will purchase his course in my lifetime. I’ve felt pretty great all day from taking the time to get my morning ritual more in place and exercise. Even without that it’s almost impossible to feel anything but great at this event because there is SO much positive energy everywhere. The people in the crowd that I’ve met have all been incredible. And WOW! there is SO many fellow Canadians here! Can’t believe how many I’ve met, maybe 20-30. And they’ve all been stellar individuals.

8:00 PM

As Day 3 Wrapped up there was more signature stories and some really valuable short to the point takeaways. I’ve got at least 20 pages of notes at this point maybe more, and I’ve realized that there are several stories from my life that I can share effectively to communicate a message or give the audience some valuable information. I have had many creative flashes of insight throughout this experience, including many business ideas. Day 3 featured lot’s of techniques for getting ready right before going on stage, including movements and breathing patterns, (wait for my video(s) for further information) and strategies to avoid or eliminate the stage fright that everybody even the greatest feel. Turning the fear into love.

I’ve seen and experienced so much this past 72h and I know I was supposed to be here. Grateful to all the teachers and everybody in the audience for coming together for the betterment of our lives and the world through our new skills, refined stories/messages, and the new friends and allies we’re making.

I’m At Brendon Burchard’s Worlds Greatest Speaker Training:  Review (day 1) 

8:46AM
Registered and ready for the 9:00 door opening. The lanyard we chose determines where we enter the conference at. The Santa Clara Mariott is a nice hotel. Nicer then I thought it would be. The room keys are pictures of the Motivation Manifesto and all staff have been very nice. The Burchard team have all been wonderfully kind and energized.
1:45pm

Wow. Just wow. I felt part way through the morning that this is the beat investment I’ve ever made. Without a doubt. The value from Brendon, Bo, and Roger is staggering, tremendous and important. I’m not selling this program or profiting from it. This is genuinely how I feel sitting here on break having lunch. The nuances of speaking on stage, storytelling, physicality and voice, taught by some of the best in the world. It’s only half way through day 1 but the takeaways are immense. And I will certainly share the core of what I’ve learned. But far more apt then to type will be to make a video and speak these takeaways. Practicing the practical application rather then a written listacle: “top 10 takeaways from Worlds Greatest Speaker.”  Even though from a SEO and total hits to my blog standpoint it would generate more traffic. I think that would be a shortcut, and I need the practice and time spent on a video. The video may not be released at the same time as this post so if you’re reading this then look for the video soon, or comment on the post and bug me to get it done.

8:15pm
Day 1 wrapped up. Honestly surprised it’s only been one day. Learning so much and so inspired by the fellow people at this event and the presenters. I have much work to do on my journey but this is a dream come true and the first progress I’ve ever made towards this particular Renaissance pursuit of Oration and speaking.
More to come tomorrow.

Grateful.