Society killed the Renaissance Man in all of us

Renaissance ManAll the Renaissance men and women have are gone because there were only ever Renaissance children. From the moment we enter school at five years old we become more and more specialized until it has been engrained in our minds that it is undesirable to be a “Jack of all trades, but a master of none.” Society gives assigns no value to being a Renaissance person.

The polymaths are gone and people don’t seem to have a problem with it.

Train them early

It doesn’t have to be this way: from birth until kindergarten, children want to be and do everything. They change their minds with the wind and have very short attention spans for the uninteresting. Their attitudes embody the ideas of Renaissance men and women who explored every question and pursued diverse interests. Children don’t care to be masters and are fearless in their willingness to fail at everything. But this changes once the child is asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” One question kills the exploratory nature in us and starts to force us to start thinking linearly.

Education reinforces this throughout until we get our first jobs.

Take Your Inner Child to Work Day

There is something to be learned from the child we pressure to pick a single path in life. Turn the question around and on yourself, “What don’t you want to be when you grow up?” Have you finished aging? Of course not. There’s no reason you can’t pursuit many passions and become some level of master at many. The worst thing that can happen at a job is feeling you have been pigeon holed into one thing. You will be labeled and your job description will define you.

A job title is only as confining as we allow it to be. Every company needs the Renaissance Man or Woman. Everyone has much more to offer at their company than they are asked to do. We should never stop exploring. We need to be like the inquisitive children we once were.



Categories: Learning

Author:Kevin Jordan

Kevin graduated from Stanford in three years and is a contributing writer for The TIBCO Blog. Graduating from a engineering-focused university, Kevin quickly developed a passion for technology and its role in business. Still continuing some of his other creative ventures as well, he enjoys doing stand-up comedy and professional acting. Appearing on the Disney Channel and performing on stages from Las Vegas to the Bahamas inspires him to continue entertaining through written word, on comedy club stages, and on television screens. Bridging his creative ambitions and technical curiosity creates the balance he strives for.

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2 Comments on “Society killed the Renaissance Man in all of us”

  1. MIdhun
    March 11, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    Only few big companies encourage lateral movements in their organisations. Most other companies will be happy to brand you with a hot iron into any of the standard functions that you once came into as a trainee right after college.


  1. Just doing your job isn’t enough anymore | Successful Workplace - March 11, 2013

    […] Jordan this past weekend wrote a piece that sums this up well…that we need to be renaissance men and women, aware of so many parts of the business, so many disciplines, that we’re ready to create value no […]

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