How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci
- Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
Michael J. Gell has authored twelve books on accelerated learning. He is a man in pursuit of true creativity and has earned the title of the world’s leading authority on applying Leonardo Da Vinci’s genius. In fact, in one of his most noted lectures entitled, “How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci,” he took a significant amount of time to explore the life of this famous painter. He visited his birth place, read all of his personal journals and consulted those who are experts in the details of Da Vinci’s life.
His travels and research were very fruitful in that they uncovered several ideals that could revolutionize the way individuals live their lives and put their talents to use. In his quest, Gell discovered that there are seven principles that could turn even the most average individual into more free thinking, free spirits who are open to the type of genius that Leonardo Da Vinci possessed. Below are the seven principles that Gell has offered:
Principle 1: Be Curious About Everything
Make it your job to be filled with wonder about every little thing no matter what it is or how small or minute. Be curious about beauty, truth and good. One of the reasons Da Vinci was successful was because of this thirst for knowledge and the fact that he did not inhibit himself to one way of thinking or doing things. This made him an excellent multitasker. He upheld a standard of excellence for himself by only imitating works of God, the divine. He let his mind flow freely and because of this before anyone could even fly, he had invented the first working parachute design. Not only that but he created plans for other futuristic designs such as submarines, automation, the diving belt and the snorkel.
Principle 2: Keep a Notebook or Journal Of Everything
Take the time to keep a journal of all of your thoughts. Write down every activity you do and don’t feel the need to confine or stifle your thinking patterns or ideas. This allowed Da Vinci to think independently and observe things from different and unique angles. One advantage that Da Vinci had in his time was that there was a lack of information as opposed to the information overload we have today. People were left to figure things out on their own and Da Vinci took advantage of this.
Principle 3: Sharpen the Senses
“The average person looks without seeing, talks without thinking, feels without touching, breathes without smelling, hears without listening and eats without tasting. ” This idea was long held by Da Vinci because he felt that most people are desensitized to the beauty around them. He deliberately trained himself to be observant, appreciative and sensitive to his surroundings. Pay attention to the little things. Take advantage of all your senses and experience life in every way in which it is available to you. This requires deliberate and consistent behavior. Be present in the moment.
Principle 4: Embrace the Unknown
Don’t be afraid to discover things that have not been discovered. Many people are afraid of the unknown because we don’t know what feelings and truths it will bring about, however, Da Vinci embraced these things. Perhaps where it is made most evident is in his world famous picture of the Mona Lisa. Her haunting smile has led many to question exactly what she was smiling about. When young children are asked this question, some say that she has a secret. According to Da Vinci, we mustn’t be afraid to embrace the secrets of life. Look for the polar opposites–the good and bad and the light and darkness.
Principle 5: Focus On Art and Science
Da Vinci was not afraid to use his entire brain. Though many of us stress the fact that we either lean more towards our right or left brains, it’s very rare to hear someone say they make use of all of it. You should not limit your skill sets to one area of expertise. As was discussed earlier, Leonardo was a multitasker and this required being a student of both art and science. Gell suggests that if we are to reach our full potential, we must learn both the art of science and the science of art.
Principle 6: Preserve Your Own Health
Da Vinci also believed in taking care of his health in hopes of preserving his mind. He was known to be a vegetarian and perfected to consume the most wholesome foods. Science has always touted the benefits of a well-balanced and nutritious diet but it should be even more important to those who would like to explore their full mental potential.
Principle 7: Everything Connects To Something Else
If one throws a pebble into water, he or she will automatically notice that there is a ripple effect. This was the thought-process of Da Vinci. In one of his writings, he remarked that even when a bird lands on the branch of a tree, in some way this will have an effect on the rest of the world. Everything comes back full circle so you should make sure that everything you do aligns itself with your highest purpose.
Leonardo Da Vinci was more than just a painter. He took his quest for knowledge as far as he could and was able to create and invent things that many weren’t even able to dream of during his day. In order to tap into this type of genius, we must be willing to step out of the box and embrace a different thinking pattern and open our minds to the impossible. We must remove ourselves from our routine lives and be willing to express ourselves in ways that are not the most typical. Independent thought, keen observation, appreciation for both the arts and sciences and the preservation of health are all keys to reaching your highest potential. One must also embrace the idea that life is full of ripple effects.
In my article, Why Your Fear of Failure is Forcing You to Fail, I talk about Playing the Long Game. Here I talk about how most how the most accomplished individuals in human history, have to go through a period of struggle prior to mastering their craft. This period is known as the self-directed apprenticeship that lasts between 5-10 years. Leonardo Da Vinci was a complete failure in his early years – he couldn’t hold a job, he struggle to finish any of his work – it wasn’t until he was 46 when he created his first successful artistic piece.
You’re not going to think like Leonardo Da Vinci overnight, though keep investing in yourself, keeping an open mind and persevering forward, and you’ll ultimately get there.