How to Have a Personal Renaissance

 

Lazy

Today I woke up at 11am, checked my email, dilly-dallied around the Internet for about an hour and then took a shower.

I sashayed my way to the mall, meandering through the crowds of productive people while thinking about food and other food.

After wandering around a bit, I spent a large sum of money on contact lenses, stopped at the store for some Red Bulls, alfajores and medialunas before proceeding back home to stuff myself full of simple sugars and caffeine.

Life is EASY.

Renaissance

There are times in most peoples’ lives when they feel motivated, ambitious, eager and anticipatory.

During these time periods great strides are made in many different aspects of one’s life as a mental renaissance takes place…the cold, hard, dark age of the mind is over and a new light — the light of innovation — shines down upon your mental landscape, warming your neurological serfs and deeply tilling the rippling soil of your brain’s intellectual wheat fields.

You become your own Michelangelo, your own inspiration, your own generous benefactor.

When you are feeling up, you’re really feeling UP, and as long as you can stay that way you will fly far beyond the rank-and-file.

The Plague

But unfortunately, most of us do not stay that way forever. In fact, the duration of a Personal Renaissance period can be mere days, if not hours or minutes.

These moments are so valuable and yet so fleeting! So much good is done in so little time!

Imagine if you could bottle these moments and use them when necessary. Who wouldn’t pay for that?

Eureka!

No matter how much money you have, you won’t be able to force a Personal Renaissance. You can, however, figure out what makes them occur more often for you (fo’ free).

For example, I’ve found that overcoming some sort of large obstacle, followed by working out, eating a healthy meal and making a list of things I want to get done tends to put me on the right track. I also know that overcoming a small, easily-completed task helps to mentally prepare me for a larger, more complex one, so I might start by washing the dishes, then spend a few hours knocking out a project for a client, then work out, then eat a delicious salad, then make a list of things I need and want to do (work and play), adding the items I already completed and crossing them out.

In going through these motions, I’ve set myself up to

  1. have plenty of physical energy to keep moving,
  2. bask in a feeling of victory after having completed at least one large and one small task for the day,
  3. know what else I need to do to keep that feeling going (each and every thing on the list is a new opportunity!), and
  4. establish momentum…crossing out the items I’ve already completed from the least makes it look less threatening. “Look! I’ve already completed a good portion of the list! Let’s finish that badboy off! Wooo!”

Having a Personal Renaissance does not have to be a rare event, and if you take the time to figure out what works for you, they should become even more common.

Just think what wonders could have emerged if the European Renaissance had lasted 600 years instead of 300. And imagine what I could have gotten done today if I had gone through my routine instead of gorging on snack foods.

47 comments

  1. Your methods of creating the right mindset for your personal renaissance is similar to the stuff I do. I think that is soooo important to start your day off the right way if you want to get anything done. Days when I wake up and watch ESPN for two hours and go through my email are not nearly as fulfilling as when I start with a good breakfast and take my dog out for a walk. It’s great you’ve figured out how to create your ideal situation for maximum productivity. Great post!

  2. Your methods of creating the right mindset for your personal renaissance is similar to the stuff I do. I think that is soooo important to start your day off the right way if you want to get anything done. Days when I wake up and watch ESPN for two hours and go through my email are not nearly as fulfilling as when I start with a good breakfast and take my dog out for a walk. It’s great you’ve figured out how to create your ideal situation for maximum productivity. Great post!

  3. I think the real secret is building that momentum. Once you are going fast and doing what you want and need to do, few things can stop you.

    For me, the mornings are the hardest. I tend to be really lazy during mornings and if I don’t get out of the house soon, the laziness will never fade.

    For me a small workout of a few push ups and the like can get me going, a good breakfast and then going out for a bit of fresh air can change everything. If I do these steps, coding becomes part of my nature and the code flows easily.

    This is indeed a great post and being on the lookout for everything that can build that momentum is the best way to earn a renaissance every day.

    Thanks for sharing Colin!

  4. I think the real secret is building that momentum. Once you are going fast and doing what you want and need to do, few things can stop you.

    For me, the mornings are the hardest. I tend to be really lazy during mornings and if I don’t get out of the house soon, the laziness will never fade.

    For me a small workout of a few push ups and the like can get me going, a good breakfast and then going out for a bit of fresh air can change everything. If I do these steps, coding becomes part of my nature and the code flows easily.

    This is indeed a great post and being on the lookout for everything that can build that momentum is the best way to earn a renaissance every day.

    Thanks for sharing Colin!

  5. I think the real secret is building that momentum. Once you are going fast and doing what you want and need to do, few things can stop you.

    For me, the mornings are the hardest. I tend to be really lazy during mornings and if I don’t get out of the house soon, the laziness will never fade.

    For me a small workout of a few push ups and the like can get me going, a good breakfast and then going out for a bit of fresh air can change everything. If I do these steps, coding becomes part of my nature and the code flows easily.

    This is indeed a great post and being on the lookout for everything that can build that momentum is the best way to earn a renaissance every day.

    Thanks for sharing Colin!

  6. Hey Colin!

    I think momentum is the most important thing to keep our “personal renaissances” going. If we just keep doing things, we keep our high energy levels, which – of course – leads to better productivity and quality of work. It also has a lot to do with getting in “the zone” where we feel unstoppable.

  7. Hey Colin!

    I think momentum is the most important thing to keep our “personal renaissances” going. If we just keep doing things, we keep our high energy levels, which – of course – leads to better productivity and quality of work. It also has a lot to do with getting in “the zone” where we feel unstoppable.

  8. Hey Colin!

    I think momentum is the most important thing to keep our “personal renaissances” going. If we just keep doing things, we keep our high energy levels, which – of course – leads to better productivity and quality of work. It also has a lot to do with getting in “the zone” where we feel unstoppable.

  9. Amen brother.

    I’m living my own ”renaissance” period right now and like you said, I’m ”figuring out” what’s working for me right now (and discovering as well).

    Keep up the good writing.

  10. Amen brother.

    I’m living my own ”renaissance” period right now and like you said, I’m ”figuring out” what’s working for me right now (and discovering as well).

    Keep up the good writing.

  11. Amen brother.

    I’m living my own ”renaissance” period right now and like you said, I’m ”figuring out” what’s working for me right now (and discovering as well).

    Keep up the good writing.

  12. @Nate: Oh totally. I find that in the morning, if I don’t put in my contacts, eat something, put on clothing, etc, I’ll just waste time until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Bad habit, though being aware of it makes it easier to break!

    @Alejandro: It’s true; if you can build good momentum, you’re nigh but unstoppable for a good long while. Pushups do wonders for me, too!

    @Brett: Hey Brett! Yeah, a lot of people call these Renaissance periods ‘the zone,’ though I think there is a distinction. Getting in the zone is usually a short-lived thing, ending when you get up from your computer or get distracted by a coworker. A Personal Renaissance, on the other hand, tends to last past one work session, and keeps your mind occupied for a good long while.

    @Javier: Glad to here it, Javier! I imagine the change in scenery has had something to do with it, verdad? Can’t wait to see some new photography/website action!

  13. @Nate: Oh totally. I find that in the morning, if I don’t put in my contacts, eat something, put on clothing, etc, I’ll just waste time until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Bad habit, though being aware of it makes it easier to break!

    @Alejandro: It’s true; if you can build good momentum, you’re nigh but unstoppable for a good long while. Pushups do wonders for me, too!

    @Brett: Hey Brett! Yeah, a lot of people call these Renaissance periods ‘the zone,’ though I think there is a distinction. Getting in the zone is usually a short-lived thing, ending when you get up from your computer or get distracted by a coworker. A Personal Renaissance, on the other hand, tends to last past one work session, and keeps your mind occupied for a good long while.

    @Javier: Glad to here it, Javier! I imagine the change in scenery has had something to do with it, verdad? Can’t wait to see some new photography/website action!

  14. yes yes perpetuating self motivation is fun and interesting. Creating ways to keep that momentum up is always challenging though because, at least for me, what motivates me now won’t always motivate me or I won’t be able to fit it in with whatever schedule is set up. I try my best every morning to get up early, exercise and of course eat well. It sounds like from the other comments that this method is pretty fantastic for all people across the board. I good cup o joe always helps me with that kick in the butt as well. It’s a small reward everyday after completing to do’s and tasks.

  15. yes yes perpetuating self motivation is fun and interesting. Creating ways to keep that momentum up is always challenging though because, at least for me, what motivates me now won’t always motivate me or I won’t be able to fit it in with whatever schedule is set up. I try my best every morning to get up early, exercise and of course eat well. It sounds like from the other comments that this method is pretty fantastic for all people across the board. I good cup o joe always helps me with that kick in the butt as well. It’s a small reward everyday after completing to do’s and tasks.

  16. yes yes perpetuating self motivation is fun and interesting. Creating ways to keep that momentum up is always challenging though because, at least for me, what motivates me now won’t always motivate me or I won’t be able to fit it in with whatever schedule is set up. I try my best every morning to get up early, exercise and of course eat well. It sounds like from the other comments that this method is pretty fantastic for all people across the board. I good cup o joe always helps me with that kick in the butt as well. It’s a small reward everyday after completing to do’s and tasks.

  17. I think momentum is key to everything. I can’t speak authoritively because it’s really a subjective force or feeling (to each his own), but the moment I become inflexible and static or I turn myself off to things, I feel buried and disconnected. I slow down, I’m easily distracted, and I lose focus. I notice in these periods that I am more tired physically and fall prey to non-productive things or nothing at all.

    I too keep lists, and agree that its not even so much for organization but as motivation to maintain momentum. Continually problem solving dynamically also builds epistomological response i.e. the ability to solve them better and more creatively the more times they are encountered.

    Jessica

  18. I think momentum is key to everything. I can’t speak authoritively because it’s really a subjective force or feeling (to each his own), but the moment I become inflexible and static or I turn myself off to things, I feel buried and disconnected. I slow down, I’m easily distracted, and I lose focus. I notice in these periods that I am more tired physically and fall prey to non-productive things or nothing at all.

    I too keep lists, and agree that its not even so much for organization but as motivation to maintain momentum. Continually problem solving dynamically also builds epistomological response i.e. the ability to solve them better and more creatively the more times they are encountered.

    Jessica

  19. I think momentum is key to everything. I can’t speak authoritively because it’s really a subjective force or feeling (to each his own), but the moment I become inflexible and static or I turn myself off to things, I feel buried and disconnected. I slow down, I’m easily distracted, and I lose focus. I notice in these periods that I am more tired physically and fall prey to non-productive things or nothing at all.

    I too keep lists, and agree that its not even so much for organization but as motivation to maintain momentum. Continually problem solving dynamically also builds epistomological response i.e. the ability to solve them better and more creatively the more times they are encountered.

    Jessica

  20. I tend to look at my to-do list, and work to get the smaller things done before tackling the big thing at hand, but have recently decided that that’s only psychologically productive, not realistically productive. Since, I’ve been tackling the big thing first thing in the morning, when I’m freshest and find I do the best work (that, or late at night), and then am left with a huge feeling of accomplishment that gives me the adrenaline I need to finish off the minor tasks.

    Related note: I also notice that when I receive positive feedback, it sends me into a tailspin of motivation. It validates my thoughts & efforts, and I welcome the ego boost–especially at such a relatively early stage in blogging, though the same would apply across all aspects of life. Maybe I should hire a VA just to send me uplifting emails during the day, disgusted as readers. :)

  21. I tend to look at my to-do list, and work to get the smaller things done before tackling the big thing at hand, but have recently decided that that’s only psychologically productive, not realistically productive. Since, I’ve been tackling the big thing first thing in the morning, when I’m freshest and find I do the best work (that, or late at night), and then am left with a huge feeling of accomplishment that gives me the adrenaline I need to finish off the minor tasks.

    Related note: I also notice that when I receive positive feedback, it sends me into a tailspin of motivation. It validates my thoughts & efforts, and I welcome the ego boost–especially at such a relatively early stage in blogging, though the same would apply across all aspects of life. Maybe I should hire a VA just to send me uplifting emails during the day, disgusted as readers. :)

  22. I tend to look at my to-do list, and work to get the smaller things done before tackling the big thing at hand, but have recently decided that that’s only psychologically productive, not realistically productive. Since, I’ve been tackling the big thing first thing in the morning, when I’m freshest and find I do the best work (that, or late at night), and then am left with a huge feeling of accomplishment that gives me the adrenaline I need to finish off the minor tasks.

    Related note: I also notice that when I receive positive feedback, it sends me into a tailspin of motivation. It validates my thoughts & efforts, and I welcome the ego boost–especially at such a relatively early stage in blogging, though the same would apply across all aspects of life. Maybe I should hire a VA just to send me uplifting emails during the day, disgusted as readers. :)

  23. My renaissance has always started the night before. If I can get a good night’s sleep and map out my morning on a piece of paper, I’m up first thing in the morning on autopilot.

    Of course, some of those days (like today?) don’t turn out the way I’d like them to, but such is life.

    See you in 2010!

  24. My renaissance has always started the night before. If I can get a good night’s sleep and map out my morning on a piece of paper, I’m up first thing in the morning on autopilot.

    Of course, some of those days (like today?) don’t turn out the way I’d like them to, but such is life.

    See you in 2010!

  25. Hey Colin. There’s a lot of change since I last visited this site. It looks great by the way. I liked how you compared a day in your life to the Renaissance period, and how doing small things and getting them done helps add momentum towards more complicated tasks later on during the day. Thanks for this and I hope you have a happy new year. :)

  26. Hey Colin. There’s a lot of change since I last visited this site. It looks great by the way. I liked how you compared a day in your life to the Renaissance period, and how doing small things and getting them done helps add momentum towards more complicated tasks later on during the day. Thanks for this and I hope you have a happy new year. :)

  27. It’s great you found your personal success patterns.

    I think that’s the key. We all have routines that make or break us, spiral up or spiral down.

  28. It’s great you found your personal success patterns.

    I think that’s the key. We all have routines that make or break us, spiral up or spiral down.

  29. Great accomplishments are built on a foundation of small ones. I like the Idea of a personal renaissance now I need to start looking for my triggers. Thanks for the thoughts.

  30. Great accomplishments are built on a foundation of small ones. I like the Idea of a personal renaissance now I need to start looking for my triggers. Thanks for the thoughts.

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  32. Mate you have a great writing style. A large majority of the blogs I currently follow are getting the boot this year but yours is definitely staying near the top my friend.

    Once I have finished my travels in India I am thinking of settling in Buenos Aires for three months towards the end of the year so if your still about we’ll definitely go out for a beer.

  33. Mate you have a great writing style. A large majority of the blogs I currently follow are getting the boot this year but yours is definitely staying near the top my friend.

    Once I have finished my travels in India I am thinking of settling in Buenos Aires for three months towards the end of the year so if your still about we’ll definitely go out for a beer.

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  35. One of my favourite things to do is to make sure than I’ve done at least one thing on my ‘to do’ list before I write it – even if, on dark days, it’s something as small as ‘get out of bed’, ‘get dressed’ or ‘write to do list’.

  36. One of my favourite things to do is to make sure than I’ve done at least one thing on my ‘to do’ list before I write it – even if, on dark days, it’s something as small as ‘get out of bed’, ‘get dressed’ or ‘write to do list’.

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  39. Hey Colin,
    I just rediscovered this and I’m using it as inspiration for explaining my version of a personal renaissance. Awesome stuff from the Exile Lifestyle archives man! I won’t tell my wife you came up with the concept of a personal renaissance before she did. She wouldn’t want to know. :)

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