Inspired by the bestselling book “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael J. Gelb
In 1994, Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene put together an objective list to rank history’s greatest geniuses. They based their ratings on categories such as “Originality”, “Versatility”, “Vision”, “Strength”, “Energy” and “Dominance in their Field.”
The final list is, of course, an assortment of well-known minds: Einstein (#10), Thomas Jefferson (#7), Michelangelo (#5) and William Shakespeare (#2).
At the top of the list is a man who was simultaneously one of the greatest thinkers, scientists, artists and inventors that the world has ever known: Leonardo da Vinci.
Da Vinci lived his life as a gigantic quest. He never shied away from asking questions and embraced his natural inquisitiveness. He never accepted “conventional wisdom” as the only answer. Simply put, he always wanted to know more.
Author Michael J. Gelb has analyzed and dissected Leonardo’s thought process and methods. From his research, he has devised the “Seven Da Vincian Principles” – principles that guided Da Vinci’s life and can easily be applied to your own. The seven principles are:
- Curiosità (Curiosity): Approaching life with a desire to continually learn.
- Dimonstrazione (Demonstration): Testing knowledge through experience; desire to learn through mistakes.
- Sensazione (Sensation): Sharpening our senses to enrich our experiences.
- Sfumato (Italian for “Turned to mist” or “Going up in smoke”): A willingness to embrace, challenge and attempt to understand the unknown and uncertain in life.
- Arte/Scienza: (Art and Science): Balancing imagination and logic; using both sides of your brain for thinking.
- Corporalita (Corporeal): Preserving health and maintaining physical health.
- Connessione (Connections): Perceiving and understanding the connection of all things; how one thing can impact something completely different.
In theory, by embracing these principles, we can improve the control and navigation of our own lives.
My personal experience has been that these principles really do help to shape thinking in a positive way. I’ve tried to apply these principles to my daily work routine to see how changing my thinking could aid my work responsibilities.
While I haven’t become a genius (yet), I’ve found that many of these principles do enhance the way I address day-to-day dilemmas and adversity.
Three of these principles, Curiosità, Dimonstrazione and Connessione, have genuinely assisted me in my daily operations
It’s pretty well known in my office that I’m the guy who asks a lot of questions about any subject. I have a natural Curiosità and I’ve chosen to embrace it. By listening and learning, many Connessiones to technological solutions or opportunities will express themselves. From there, I choose not to keep my ideas and opportunities to myself. By utilizing Dimonstrazione, more often that not, I am able to find a workable plan or solution.
While I don’t foresee that practicing these principles will get me on the Top Ten Greatest Genius list, adjustments to my on-the-job thinking certainly have benefited by trying to bring a little “genius” into my life.
My next three blogs will expand on Curiosity, Demonstration and Connection. In the meantime, you can read the book!