What is a Polymath? The Term Defined

Although it's an old term, you may not know what it truly means. Perhaps you do, but you're curious as to how it fits in modern-day society... 

Chances are you’ve heard about our planner, checked it out, and found yourself reflecting on its purpose. An item like a planner says a lot about the person using it. Everyone has a different way of shelving information and getting things done. In our opinion, the most commonly preached methods of “success” are flawed. 

Modern society glorifies productivity as achievement’s determining factor, but productivity is nothing but spinning your wheels if it’s not being put to good use. You go around and around justto realizeyou’re still stuck in place. 

So, what’s all this mean? What is a polymath and why should you care? Well, if you’ve bought one of our planners or you’re finding yourself intrigued to get one, chances areyou,my friend, area polymath. 

Find Out Whether or Not You’re a Polymath: The Term Defined

A polymath is an individual who builds knowledge in several areas as a means to develop a complex understanding. This understanding serves as the polymath’s customized toolbelt for navigating complicated problems - allowing them to gain success organically in genius ways. 

Think of the most successful, fulfilled people you know - do they tend to listen to others and do what everyone tells them to do? The answer is probably no, and neither did any of history’s greatest polymaths.

Success is not a one-size-fits-all plan. As you embrace the polymathic lifestyle, you’ll start to understand your strengths and value your creativity as it guides you to your purpose. 

The Polymath Planner

Creativity: Your Most Under-Utilized Strength

Creativity is so much more than a fun exercise or the result of a personality trait. It's a powerful way of thinking - one in which we are all capable of doing. Unfortunately, creativity often falls by the wayside due to the rapid pace of modern culture. 

Creativity is really just an application of perspective. At first, it may take some time and patience to adjust to a more intentional lens. However, when imagination and concrete knowledge collaborate,genius ideas unfold.  

The pressures of society cause us to spread ourselves too thin, forgetting the joys of learning and exploration. Success standards are high and quite frankly, unrealistic. We expect to become experts at everything in the shortest amounts of time possible. When this model doesn’t play out the way we want it to, we find ourselves discouraged. With the Polymath Planner, youcanbe good at everything you set your mind to; however, this concept of a failure-versus-success mindset must change.

Logical thinking is necessary, but it’s also limiting. Creativity takes courage and is inspired by passion. In order to truly master anything, passion is a must. When you choose creativity, you’re ready to truly set yourself apart from the crowd. 

For Better Understanding, Look to the Polymath Masters

Even if the term “polymath” is new to you, you’ve surely heard of some of history’s greatest examples. 

Leonardo Da Vinci is an easy choice for highlighting the quintessential polymath. Italian-born Da Vinci came from humble beginnings and lived and worked in the time of the Renaissance. He is primarily known for being a prolific painter, one of the greatest of all time. With that said, his artistry is one branch in his tree of accomplishments. In his lifetime, he was also a cartographer, anatomist, astrologer, engineer, geologist, botanist, and inventor (just to name a few!) He made huge breakthroughs in many of the fields in which he studied. 

Leonardo da Vinci

He relied heavily on his journals and was consistently making notes and drawings of his plans. By studying vast disciplines and constantly comparing the discoveries within them, he was able to make monumental connections. This method, applied over and over, led him to develop a dynamic knowledge base and natural inclination towards brilliance. And there you have it - he is now universally known as one of the greatest innovators of all time. This is what happens when you don’t race the clock on a path towards perfection. Leonardo Da Vinci made room for magic -that's what lends him to the polymath prototype.

That said, Da Vinci is just one example of a polymath.
You don’t have to be considered one of the greatest innovators of all time to fit the type.

The polymath approach has been integrated by people from all walks of life throughout the span of time. From Imhotep operating in 2600 BCE to today’s Donald Glover, more popularly known as Childish Gambino, this method knows no bounds. 

  • Ziryab was a Persian astrologist and meteorologist with a passion for fashion. He pioneered the concept of wearing different outfits for season or occasion, basically developing the concept of style as we know it today. 
  • In the 110s, Hildegard of Bingen devoted her life to becoming a Nun. She also worked as a revolutionary composer, writer, and visionary. 
  • Other well-known examples include Benjamin Franklin, Helen Keller, and George Washington Carver.

These people battled sexism, racism, poor socioeconomic standing, lack of community, lack of education, and more. Despite all of their adversity,they dared to be different. 

Which leads to the main point: Anyone can become a polymath.

The Modern-Day Polymath

Are you still struggling to visualize the life of a polymath in 2020? It’s understandable. Today’s “standards of success” are so ingrained within us, it can be hard to shake them. Don’t worry, though. There are examples of polymathseverywhere - you just have to open your eyes to see them. 

Think of celebrities. It’s not that uncommon for an actor to also be a musician, director,and author...  who happens to have their own clothing line. In this day and age, being a polymath is about integrating ideas. THAT’S how you create your legacy. 

Young woman writing in the Polymath Planner at a coffee shop

There is no better time to embrace polymathy thanright now. We live in a time period where learning resources are practically endless, the concept of a workday is starting to be challenged, and big changes (ahem, COVID-19) are forcing us to start over and adapt to new systems. We are constantly reinventing. If you really think about it,we are living in a modern-day renaissance. 

Now you know the definition of a polymath. If you ended up here, chances are you knew what a polymath was all along. You just didn’t know that there was an actual term to definewho you are. Without further ado... 

Hey, Polymath. Welcome to the Club. 

Young man walking through Austin, Texas wearing the Polymath T-shirt

Understanding the basics of the word is just the starting point. 
Now it’s time to lean into the principles of our kind and apply them to everyday life.

In our future blogs, we’ll be discussing how the Polymath Planner can take you from feeling stuck to building your bigger picture as a great innovator. 

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