Three Simple Secrets to Charisma

Dawn Bevier

Making people adore you lies in a centuries-old secret

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Think of those people whom you really want to hate, but can’t.

You want to despise them because they seem to have it all: good looks, success, and intelligence. Standing in the way of your hate, however, is their extreme kindness, acceptance of others, and insane work ethic. So, even though you want to begrudge them for their ability to effortlessly attract people, the fact is you respect them instead. As a matter of fact, not only do you respect them, but you find yourself also drawn into their magical spell.

Those people whom you feel this way about have a special quality.

Charisma.

And you can have it too.

You just have to embrace some age-old simple principles taken from a period known as the Renaissance.

What does it mean to be a Renaissance man or woman?

The philosophy of Humanism was one of the major proponents of the era known as the Renaissance.

Lumen explains that “the purpose of Humanism was to create a universal man whose person combined intellectual and physical excellence and who was capable of functioning honorably in virtually any situation.”

Think about this principle. Doesn’t it apply to all those people to whom you respect?

So what can you do to move you closer to being this sought after “universal man [or woman]?

How to be a Renaissance man or woman

Broaden your horizon by learning more things.

Above all, a Renaissance man was an intellectual. And one goal for this type of man can be summed up as an ability to know “a little about a lot.”

American novelist Robert A. Heinlein says embodies the Renaissance belief in being a multifaceted learner when he states that “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, give 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.”

And, while I must admit this goal is almost impossible to attain, the truth is that all people can commit more fully to the pursuit of knowledge.

Think of the mindless hours we spend scrolling mindlessly on Youtube laughing at silly videos. Think of the countless days we spend lying on the couch bingeing the latest Netflix series.

Renaissance men and women spend their time embracing learning instead. And because they know so much about so much, we find these people wonderfully enchanting and even a bit mysterious.

We wonder, “How can they be good at so many things?”

For example, think of the man who is savvy enough to use his financial knowledge to grow a business by day and well-read enough to quote Shakespeare by night in intimate conversations with his partner.

Think of the woman who takes kickboxing lessons in the morning and can talk politics with confidence over dinner.

Don’t you wish you could be this intoxicating? I sure do (and I’m working on it).

And if you want to too, here are some tips to make you this beguiling as well:

  • Read up on things outside of your specialized bit of knowledge. If you’re into politics, read a classic novel. If you’re an avid reader of fiction, try learning about history or politics through non-fictional manuscripts such as biographies or historical or scientific publications.
  • Take a class on something that has fascinated you but that you never found the time (or made the time) about which to learn more. For example, in a Gentlemint article entitled “How to Become a Modern Day Renaissance Man (or Woman),” author Glen Stansberry mentions the fact that there are many online courses that are free such as Harvard X or edX. So why not take advantage of all this knowledge that is free and literally right at your fingertips?
  • Travel to places which you’ve never been. And this doesn’t have to mean expensive international escapades. This goal can be accomplished by something as simple as visiting a local art museum, a wine tasting, or a historical exhibition in a near-by town.

In short, one of the keys to charisma is making a goal to continuously seek new experiences that allow you to more drink deeply from the “fountain of knowledge.”

Don’t be afraid to be your own person.

Another movement that became prominent during the Renaissance was Individualism. During the medieval times that preceded the Renaissance, imitating the great artists and writers of the day was valued. This fact, combined with an intense focus on following religious mores and teachings, stifled creative thought and exploration.

The Renaissance moved away from these ideals and began to focus more on the individual. People engaged in philosophical debates where their ideas were molded and challenged by others and where established mores were dissolved as individuals sought to maximize their own unique thoughts and talents.

And it cannot be disputed that people are drawn to those who are not afraid to express their personalities boldly and unashamedly. Think of the way our attention is drawn by the banker with the purple streak in her hair or the stay at home mom that wears jeans paired with high heels to the grocery store. We don’t even know these people yet our attention is taken by their subtle rebellion against preconceived notions of correct behavior or common ideology.

So be who you are.

  • State your opinions boldly (yet politely).
  • Fashion your appearance, style of clothing, and the like to express your true personality.
  • Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and honest. Revealing weaknesses as individuals draw people to us as our expression of own humanity makes others feel free to also express themselves openly.

Take care of your body.

I know you probably don’t want to hear this, as most of us are guilty of missing a gym work-out or two (or one hundred). But beauty, form, and symmetry were important to the plethora of artists, sculptors, and craftsmen of the Renaissance, and these ideals filtered into the whole culture of the era.

After all, it was part of the belief that one should maximize one’s full potential intellectually, morally, and physically.

For example, in Cultura Colectiva, it states that a Renaissance man “was supposed to live a balanced life, where he spent equal amounts of time on cultivating his intellect and doing physical activity.” They go on to say that this is the reason men in Renaissance art “ [look] athletic, healthy, and fit, [but] not too muscular,” as it conveys the idea that equal time has been spent in both intellectual and physical pursuits.

And this idea of physical fitness also permeates our own culture. It relays the traits of self-discipline and self-care, in addition to the fact that it is pleasing to the eye itself. Also, most people who make time to improve their physical form have more energy and confidence, and all these traits combined make them compelling to others.

So while it is difficult to fit in physical exercise, we can find small amounts of time to improve our physiques. For example, we can:

  • Change a few nutritional habits that add unwanted calories or cause our body to be sluggish or ill with ailments such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes or the many dangers inherent in carrying excess weight.
  • Work in more time for even simple activities, such as a walk every day after dinner, a bike ride, or a thirty-minute workout at the gym.
  • Find new and exciting ways to get into better physical shape such as taking a yoga or dance class.

The bottom line:

No one can be perfect, but striving to be the best one could be is the reason the Renaissance produced some of the greatest innovators in history, some of the most awe-inspiring art, and some of the most thought-provoking ideas in philosophy and history.

The combination of this striving for perfection, appreciation of knowledge, and reverence for the individual and his own unique spirit and talents make the Renaissance one of the most fascinating periods in history.

And embracing these own habits and values in your own life will most likely make you the most fascinating person in the room.

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Sanford, NC
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