I try to be, but when I can't do something perfect right from the start I have difficulty practicing until I can. On the one hand, I can pursue knowledge or information for days weeks or months (totally focused and hardly sleeping) until I have exhausted every idea or possibility and have my answer; other times I will run out of patience in a day and do something else. I am used to having things come easily, and when they don't I find it hard to remain interested. I was musical as a teen (high school band) and love music, and when I first picked up a guitar it seemed easy to play a few simple chords, and very easy to copy a guitar solo. For some reason my brain didn't want to remember guitar chords a few days later. That part of my brain just doesn't want to commit things to memory, so my guitar sits in the spare room waiting to be re-discovered. I have a perfect ear, and excellent timing, but not the drive apparently. I can write and paint, and I am always inventing and creating, but so far haven't forced myself to face the music. I believe I will one of these days, but my procrastination gets in the way...
I don't specifically intend to become a Renaissance Man, but I tend to see "opportunities" everywhere. I heard about Windows and programming, I wanted to start building my own programs. I saw my friends playing video games, I wanted to learn 3D graphics and build one of my own (I learnt OpenGL as a result). I saw someone playing guitar, I wanted to play and compose. Though learning guitar took quite a lot out of me.
I tend to see the basic principle behind things, start out nice but lose interest halfway because practice bores me.
*checks the list of traits and domains of knowledge according to Rabelais and Erasmus*
Bodily strenght (riding, fencing, ball games, gymnastics, use of all weapons, hunting)
Manual ability (knowledge of how to make books, drugs, furniture, fabrics, jewelry, metals and alchemy)
Artistic skill (dance, singing, music, etc.)
Good manners and good conversation
All kinds of knowledge (Rabelais dixit, Erasmus was less demanding), both practical and theorical, in:
Greek and latin
I'd have to be better at hard science... not that I'm terrible at it, but my knowledge stayed at highschool level. I do like biology and astronomy, but I've never had the drive to do anything.
I'd have to play an instrument. I can only half-play an alto recorder, and have to periodically review my old notebooks so that I don't forget what little I know about reading music. However, I do try to educate my taste.
I don't know Greek and I'd have to practice some kind of sport. And ride. And fence.
Every year it gets harder to make any practical achievement without being a specialist, though... It seems like the function of renaissance people in this day and age is to combine disparate ideas and send the new thoughts back to the specialists they're coming from.
Seems like the role they would play is a moderator of some type, or publish a magazine or journal of varied interests that combined and collided thoughts in much the same way... If a renaissance person was going to achieve anything, that is. Otherwise it just seems like an appreciatory act.
Ah yea, that would be cool. Well, maybe the modern day role model for this is (well, not maybe but for sure ) McGuyver. Who wouldn't want to be McGuyver, srsly?
Well, i at least have him as role model.
(Which unfortunately doesn't mean that i am anywhere near his abilities, lol)
I think its difficult for specialists to contribute to even their specialization. The volume of information is piling up faster, in any particular field, than a person can keep up with. With such prodigious and unrestrained explosion of knowledge, it becomes difficult to seperate bad information from the good.
I think the only way to really achieve a "Rennaissance" effect is to engage ever larger groups of individuals with responsibility and authority. An example would be moving the decision for what research to fund away from a small group to everyone with a BS or better degree, even if they aren't employed in a science industry I would give them a vote. The results of the vote wouldn't be made public till the voting is complete. At the start I would fully expect there to be bumps and dead ends but eventually I think it would even out.