What entrepreneurs can learn from Leonardo da Vinci
I’ve been re-reading the fabulous book How to think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Everyday By Michael Gelb. There are two big take homes from this book which I would like to share and get your thoughts on how they can impact your business and life as an entrepreneur. The first is his absolute belief in the essential power of To-Do-Lists followed by Leonardo’s seven attributes to succeed.
Incidentally da Vinci was not only a celebrated artist (Mona Lisa, Last Supper, etc.); he was also an incredible inventor, engineer, musician, and scientist in short a phenomenal entrepreneur.
Here’s what the author Michael Gelb says: “I feel very strongly that the genius of Leonardo resides not just in what he created but in what he can inspire us to create. Beyond all his stellar achievements, Leonardo da Vinci serves as a global archetype of human potential, giving us intimations of what we ourselves may be capable of doing.”
In 1510, Leonardo da Vinci set out his day as follows:
1) Describe the jaw of a crocodile;
2) Get anatomy books bound;
3) Get hold of a skull.
To-do lists can be a source of great satisfaction – the feeling of ticking off that last item, and rewarding yourself. The key to success with To-do-lists, as Leonardo shows is keep it punchy – fewer, more actionable items, with as many specifics as possible will help you achieve your goals. The punchier the better – they will be more actionable. Give it a try and share with us what works and what does not.
Let’s take a look at his next recommendations which I get a great source of inspiration from. Here are the seven attributes which da Vinci said were crucial to success:
1) “Curiosità -- An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.
2) Dimonstratzione -- A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.
3) Sensazione --The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experience.
4) Sfumato (in other words ‘Going up in Smoke’) -- A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
5) Arte/Scienza -- The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. What is now known as ‘Whole-brain thinking.’
6) Corporalita -- The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
7) Connessione -- A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.”
Gelb suggests using these seven attributes starting with Curiosità you do the “100 questions exercise,” the questions are yours to form, some helpful hints are “What are my greatest strengths?” and “What am I most passionate about?” to “Why is the sky blue?” and “How can I optimize my health?” He then suggests we review the list of 100 questions and answers and rank them, or rather whittle them down to the top 10… here you will find your priorities in life and where to put your focus.
As you reflect on the top 10 list, think about this wisdom from Gelb:
“To live a successful and fulfilling life, must one: a) be 100 percent committed to achieving clearly defined goals; b) recognize that the process of living every day, the daily quality of life, is of greatest importance; or c) both a) and b)?”
Share your answer below.
A final thought, Gelb says that Leonardo used affirmations to keep him on track… here is a summary:
“Although he experienced self-doubt and questioned the value of his efforts, he never gave up. Leonardo’s courage and persistence in the face of adversity are tremendously inspiring. He strengthened his will to continue his work through affirmations that he wrote in his notebook, such as:
‘I do not depart from my furrow.’
‘Obstacles do not bend me.’
‘Every obstacle is destroyed through rigor.’
‘I shall continue.’
‘I never tire of being useful.’”
Do you keep a to-do-list and will da Vinci’s seven attributes inspire your business and life? Share your thoughts -- I’m curious…