Gregory Russell Benedikt

Going Viral on Instagram and Why Humanity Isn't Entirely Doomed

Published 6 months ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader,

Welcome back to Renaissance.

The one-stop shop for inspiration, dad humor, and new ideas.

Grab a nice cup of coffee or tea and settle in on this fine Monday morning.


What I'm learning about 🧠

The best way to lose all hope in humanity is to turn on the news.

The second best way is to scroll through TikTok.

A few seconds on that app makes my brain feel like a stick of butter hanging out in a hot frying pan.

It's not good.

Nearly every social media app makes me feel like I am rapidly shedding IQ points as my attention span quickly evaporates.

And I know it seems like young people can't focus anymore.

Or read, write, spell, or do anything else that your great-grandpappy could do at age eight.

When he walked 11 miles uphill (both ways) to school every day.

But I have good news for you.

There is hope for young people.

But don't take it from me, I'm just a washed-up millennial who still prefers clothes that fit me.

Instead, listen to Ruby LaRocca, a 17-year-old who urges her generation to read old books, memorize poems, and invite senior citizens to parties.

She recently won The Free Press's first-ever high school essay contest with her submission: A Constitution for Teenage Happiness.

Reading it restored my hope in humanity.

Pair it with the runner-up submission: Why I Traded My Smartphone For An Ax by Caleb Silverberg and you might actually hug a young person.

Just make sure you yell at them to get off your lawn after doing so.

P.S. Big thank you to my friend Dane for sharing these articles with me!

100 Days of Living a Story Worth Telling

Inspired by the book Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang I've embarked on 100 days of asking strangers for bold and outrageous things 🚀

Here's my favorite story of the week, and go check out the video that's gone viral on Instagram if you haven't seen it already!


Today I asked a stranger if she would read a page of my book out loud to me 😅

After immediately getting rejected by the first person I approached, morale was low.

“Who would say yes to this?” I wondered aloud as I kept walking along the beach.

But then I saw a cute dog and had an idea.

It’s always easier to approach people with dogs because you can pet the dog to break the ice.

So after saying hello to the next fluffy friend I encountered, I looked up at the owner and asked:

“I was wondering if you’d read a page to me of my book?”

I waited silently for her to berate me for asking such a stupid question.

Instead, she simply asked, “really?”

I breathed out as I said “Yeah!”

That’s all it took.

An innocent question and a confirmation that I actually was serious.

But that’s not even the best part.

This amazing woman and her husband were incredibly generous.

We got to talking and they happen to live where I plan to vacation in November.

They even offered to let me stay with them for a night!

I continue to be astonished by people’s generosity and by what can come from sparking up a conversation.

You never know where your next “hello” will lead you!

My newest theory:

Every stranger is a future friend who is waiting for you to speak to them.

Quote of the week 📜

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail."

-Helen Keller

What I'm reading 📚

I am reading another fantastic philosophy book.

It's called Become What You Are by Alan Watts.

It's a beautiful collection of essays that will make you pause and ponder.

What could be better than that?

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Sent with love,

Gregory Russell Benedikt

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Gregory Russell Benedikt

I am on a mission to have 100 conversations with people about their biggest dreams. Book your free Dream Session at If that's too much right now, drop your email below to start loving your Monday mornings.

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