First Post of 2016

Wow. So even with ample time, I still let 2015 go by with hardly the proper attention this blog deserves. I’m grateful if you’re reading this and want to share some of my vision for this blog’s future as well as my own.

Since this is the first post of 2016 I just want to briefly touch on 2015 and what was an amazing year of self-discovery and adventure. I will be writing a dedicated post with the highlights and lowlights of last year, but for now, let me keep it concise.

2015 I left the “full time” workforce and waded into the ever growing freelance economy. Pretty soon I wasn’t just wading in I was drowning in an endless sea of opportunities, and my own personal struggles. With a buffet of chances and choices, the actual process of deciding becomes very important. I can’t make everybody happy, and capitalize on every opportunity while still having quality as a primary emphasis. There are people out there that can definitely manage more projects, execute more ideas, and balance a life better than I can do at present. Yet, I am learning and will eventually grow my creative work capacity. 2015 taught me that I have some conditioned behaviors and changing things that are very ingrained has a high difficulty factor. Nothing is impossible, but the effort level put into changing these kinds of behaviors is very high versus accepting and adjusting to get around or through the road blocks. Use what you’ve got rather than starting construction on a new thoroughfare. I recently wrote about this on Medium and had the realization that I benefit from a physical location to show up to do my work, that is separate from my home. This is true at least in my current situation, possibly having a larger house with a dedicated office I could indeed “show up” and get to work the way I’ve conditioned myself to from years of working in restaurants and events. So I emphasize my newly found awareness of this because this was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the last year. The second great lesson or teaching 2015 had for me was a greater understanding of the power of choice. The more choices that face an individual, the less likely that each choice will be a rational and well-made decision. Understanding what kind of decisions you make under decision fatigue, and how to adjust or avoid this autopilot if it’s not in your best interest. This is an ongoing evolution in my mindset and behavior adjustments, not a master by any means yet but I do put focus and attention into better and fewer choices. What else did 2015 mean for me? I took lots of chances, and had many go well, but many also fail to materialize or be executed. My third takeaway is that I’m on the right path, and those failures were a necessary part of my growth as a man and a professional. I’m still here breathing, healthy, strong and ready to move forward so reflecting but not dwelling on failure is a facet of my mindset I’m developing. I pushed myself hard at certain points throughout the year, but the push wasn’t sustained. Pace. The same as doing an Obstacle Course Race can’t push the pace to a frenzy if you can’t recover from a frenzied pace. Better to give a constant 80% push dipping down to 70-75% to recover than pushing at 98% but dropping down to >60% to recover. A steady pace in my creative projects, fitness, and professional/personal development is what I’m aiming for in the coming year(s). That (s) shows a maturity in my thought process—I’m okay with not everything happening this year, or next year. I learned in 2015 what a year really feels like on my terms. How much time I really made the most of and how much I’ve wasted. Going forward, I’m glad to think of things unfolding over several years as opposed to wanting instant gratification and results without enough emphasis on PROCESS and PERSEVERANCE.

That essentially gives a brief snap into 2015, here are some of my key takeaways:

  1. I can’t make everybody happy, and capitalize on every opportunity while still having quality as a primary emphasis.
  2. The more choices that face an individual, the less likely that each choice will be a rational and well-made decision.
  3. I learned in 2015 what a year really feels like on my terms. How much time I really made the most of and how much I’ve wasted.

A touch on the past and now a look to the future. I’m chasing my dreams, period. It’s not all sunshine and light refracting through water droplets (rainbows) though. There is plenty of pain mixed with the pleasure. Most of the pain is self-caused through my interpretation of events meanings. That’s a hard one to accept, but I find a lot of truth in that statement. Looking towards 2016, 2017, 2018 and beyond, I am happy with the vision I’m creating. I’ve looked at my major goals and desires in life and have done my best to create a large enough vision to enable great progress and eventual completion of the most important goals. Deepening self-awareness as I move forward is a commitment I’m making. Sharing that development is another commitment I’m making and that’s what this blog is ultimately for. A record of my becoming on the path that I’ve decided on. I am pledging right now to make the records more frequent, insightful and valuable to others. I will be posting 1-2 blog posts a week minimum for the rest of this year and likely beyond. They will likely take many formats and vary from deeply personal, to relevant and useful tactics, techniques and information for others. I don’t’ want to flood this blog with a bunch of crap, so 1-2 quality posts a week is my goal. I’m also creating on Medium and YouTube  more and more often. My Instagram and Twitter are also part of the record. That’s why I show the Twitter and Instagram feed for readers right here on my blog, because not everything that I do in life is captured and instantly translated into a thoughtful blog post yet, but my tweets and Instagram are great insights into the actual flow of my life—what I’m learning, feeling, and working on. My focus for 27th Renaissance the blog is to create, share and develop useful, truthful and evergreen content on my journey.

My future for creative projects is bright, and I’m building a framework, schedule and deadlines into my everyday life. 2016 will be a year of imposing deadlines and eliminating what stands between me and those deadlines.

Thank you for reading, and as always feel free to reach out or comment and share your thoughts on what I’ve written.

Look forward to many more posts and an authentic look at me, Brendan McCaughey.IMG_1193

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 viewing at 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.


One Video Every Week for a Year, the Brendon Burchard #52WkVideoChallenge.

I have a new major priority that actually aligns pretty nicely with my Renaissance pursuits. Making and publishing one video every week for a whole year. Minimum one video, but I really need to be doing more than just one. Why am I making this a priority? And, what will I make my videos about? I am making this a priority for a few reasons, so I’ll explain the context of this priority.

After my totally life changing, amazing experience at World’s Greatest Speaker Training I was and still am committed. Committed to actually doing this, going for my dreams. More so now than ever. A final call to action at WGST was from Brendon Burchard directly: Make a video every week for a year. My life will change just from that process, but he also added a reward: do that and he will share your message to his over 3 Million Fans on Facebook. Fortunately this aligns with what I really want to do and if you’ll look on My Renaissance Defined (linkTK) then you’ll see the desire to make videos and understand production from all aspects. That’s what some of my first learning curves have been. There’s a lot of quality work I need to practice.

What You Need to Know:

1.My Videos Will be released every Sunday for Brendon’s Challenge.

2. I’ll repost some of the videos on my blog, but I would love for you to subscribe to my YouTube if you want to be first to see the whole evolution.

3. I created a hashtag #52WkVideoChallenge that I’ll be using on Twitter Meerkat, Periscope, and Instagram

4. These videos ARE going to get better. Bare with me as I learn everything.

This is my first video—it’s a discussion about how much practice this takes and the expectations I had that I didn’t meet in doing my first video. Please watch it and let me know what you think in the comments below. (Full Disclosure: my opinion is that I can always do better at this point in my learning journey, so it ain’t great—to put it mildly)

For my second video, I decided to create a video about my top takeaways from the amazing experience at World’s Greatest Speaker. I forgot my notes when we got to location (I had two friends help me on this one), and went off the top of my head. Probably not the best, but for me the great thing about video 2 is the location we found. It displays my city in graffiti, and the size of the DALLAS is about the size of a small to average stage that I will one day end up on. This is great for me to work on and evaluate my movements on stage (as Bo Eason specialized in) and noticing repetitive expressive patterns (wordTK). I do hope that you can get some value from watching my second video—I share many truths that I was given by some master Orators and performers. Check it out and let me know your feedback. EDIT: Forgot to mention how bad the sound is. I had a handheld mic but it was windy so I had to edit out the wind in Adobe Audition (still not great at sound editing).

Did you watch either video? Have a comment or question, let me know. I’m going to be creating many more and I will often MeerKat (@multitude27) and Periscope (@multitude27)  behind the scenes material which has been pretty funny, and maybe somewhat insightful.

Thank you for reading and watching. Wait until you see what I’ve got planned.

Do You Read, or Look at Your Own Content From the Past?

 

Revisiting a Photograph I took from Sunset Blvd.

Revisiting a Photograph I took from Sunset Blvd.

I’m curious. Take this poll and let’s see how many people look back on their work after time has elapsed.

 

Recently I re read a post I did on Medium, and was blown away that I wrote it. It’s about excuses, and I’m still making them. I was astonished at the poignancy of my words and their still applicable nature to my life. I found myself thinking “Wow! I wrote that?” and “I should really heed my own words.” I’m writing to ask if you read and revisit your content at all after creating it? If so, do you find value in it? I certainly have, and intend to make this a regular practice. If I can get value after the fact out of my posts, that gives me hope that others may also find my words, photos or videos of value. Lifetime value not just the day it’s published but ongoing in the future. Creating evergreen content, not just a paltry list post that becomes obsolete as times change, and the marketplace evolves. Can the value sustain? Am I digging deep into life to examine worthwhile issues and sharing the best of what I’m learning on a day to day basis? Documenting my life and journey in a way that will have value in a year, or 5. That is much more of a strategy I can stand behind and work towards as opposed to continually posting only for volume. Clogging or diluting my portfolio and brand that I’m developing with quantity and not quality. Maybe I’m not the best writer or content developer now, but I genuinely want to publish and share my best work in any channel or platform. I don’t want only selfies on my Instagram or tawdry list posts on my blog. I want to push and pull the best out of my experiences. By doing that I will develop more skills, confidence, and content. Waiting for the perfect moment, or until I can create without finding flaws only delays my dreams. I eliminate the excuses for not taking action (insert Nike slogan).

I’m glad that I’m writing. Having the dream & goal of being a writer without writing has annoyed me for some time. Looking back over my content is a nice way to check my process and progress.

Outlining a Writing Workflow

Outlining a Writing Workflow

Two blog posts a year (2014) does not cut it. Being inspired to dedicate myself to learning content creation and marketing is a good feeling. Can I keep it up? Time will tell. When creating anything do you just ship it out and forget about it? Moving on to the next project and the next and the next? Take a moment to examine and revisit it after time has passed, does it still have relevancy? Is it timeless? I want to end with a paraphrased quote from Drake. Yes the R&B/hip hop artist. I remember hearing him being interviewed describing parts of his work and method. He stated he was all about lasting power. Creating music that can be listened to with the same enjoyment years after its creation. “I want my CD to stay in your car.” Perpetual relevance by placing an emphasis on quality. I realized that when listened to that interview at the time his CD Take Care had literally stayed in my car’s 6 CD changer since buying it. Create product that’s going to still be worth something in the future, maybe worth even more. That’s what I’m working towards, I have a long way to go, but knowing the difference between instant gratification and lasting power is truly valuable.

 

I hope you like what you read and decide to go re-visit some old work of yours.

 

An aside:

I started my first real content channel with my Instagram in 2012. I’ve always tried to put only photos that I think are good from a photographic standpoint first, and being an authentic representation of what I love and strive for. Over time my captions or comments have become more thoughtful. But I don’t post something unless I want it to stay there for 5 years. Will I look back at that snapshot and say “Why did I put that on the internet?” Or “That was important that I shared that, wow look at that great shot or I remember that rawness and hustle.”

 

My first Instagram Post Ever!

My first Instagram Post Ever!

 

 

Resuming Discipline

RESUMING DISCIPLINE

It’s been a long time since I’ve made room in my life for this blog. Clearly I have a lot of varied interests and that can have both good and bad consequences. An example of a bad consequence is time utilization issues. Being disciplined enough with my time to fit continual blogging into my schedule is an adjustment I haven’t fully made yet, but progress is again underway. That is a certainty. I’m realizing that many desires can lead to many distractions. Managing or rather utilizing time to maximize my success in many fields is an ongoing endeavor, and everything is based on decisions. . Creating, and maintaining beneficial habits while eliminating the bad, or just unproductive habits that don’t align with my ultimate goals and ambitions: that’s what I’m working on mostly at the moment. A great tool that I’ve used for the better part of 2013 is a website and app called Lift. Check it out here

A few things I love about Lift are:

  • The data I can see and utilize for self-accountability. In simplicity I can see visually how I’m doing in many fields and where progress or consistencies lie and therefore where stagnation and inconsistency can be found.
  • I can create new habits and pioneer new paths for others to see and join. I can create a habit for anything, and I’ve currently got over 60. Moving forward I can create habits and hold myself accountable while building data and analyzing the effects of my decisions on my goals and ambitions in any area.

I’m becoming part of the Quantified Self movement. Recently I’ve begun tracking my sleep, activity, diet and workouts through a cool and convenient device…the Jawbone UP band. The data I’m getting from consistently using Lift and the UP band is helping me make better decisions.

I’ll be publicizing more data at the end of the year and doing a 52 item gratitude post from this year as the year wraps up in the next few months.

I’m also getting involved in a couple other projects and am still maintaining a few part time jobs presently. So I’m going to be “busy” but aim to maintain overall productivity and stop avoiding the important. I know the most important things that I should be doing and just need to execute. Self-discipline and delaying gratification are two of my motivators as I move on to my next post…a discipline in and of itself—keeping my knives sharp.