Charlois Principles

Principal 11) Personal self-reflection is of no benefit unless we engage in a comprehensive program of continual self-improvement.

Michael Gelb wrote in his book, “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci”, about the nearly unlimited potential of mankind and gives a 7-step process for attaining our best self.  This process serves the reader as a way to become renaissance people.  In an article about becoming the more academic term, polymath, ******* writes…

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly; specialization is for insects.”

In order to attain the title, “Renaissance Man” there are certain things our lives need to consist of.  The first is Curiosity.  We need to have an insatiable thirst for everything the universe has to offer.  There are ways to feed that thirst.  By becoming voracious readers, we expose ourselves to a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Never before has information been so readily available.  Today, with the advent of computers and the internet, we have access to most of what has been written, the ability to travel to foreign lands, and explore the cosmos in its entirety.

Second, we must be willing to test that knowledge through personal experience.  Facts have a way of being distorted by people’s use of them.  For this reason, we must test everything so that we don’t just know “stuff” but have experienced “stuff” for ourselves.

The most practical way of testing facts is through our senses.  Therefore, refinement of our natural senses provides a way to get in touch with reality.

We cannot neglect the idea that our senses sometimes present conflicting information.  Thus, we need to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.  It is because of these conflicts we realize that differing ways of seeing cause us to use different parts of our reasoning faculties.  Therefore…

We must develop all parts of our brains in a way that allows us to think with both logic and imagination.  Using the two approaches to work on issues increases our chances of coming to resolution.  Research has shown however that it is not just our brains where sensory input is processed but throughout our bodies.

Developing our whole selves is crucial to realizing our full potential.  Therefore, the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise is a must for any polymath. Once we have all those pieces together it is time to work on the totality and tie it all together.

This interconnectedness of all things calls for a systems approach to dealing with life.  Once we have the processes in place nothing will be beyond our reach.

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