Why is what Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci teaches about creativity so important? What talents and traits did this 15th century self-taught artist, architect, and scientist possess that can be replicated for success in your search for creativity, innovation, and fulfillment? Well, to begin with, he lived when many of the greatest innovations and ingenious masterpieces ever known to man were fashioned. He’s dubbed the most multi-talented person of all time and is recognized as the premier Renaissance man.
Best-selling author and strategic consultant Peter Fisk, avows:
“It is easy to say that a person is ‘ahead of his time’, but rarely has anyone been so far ahead. He could see the future – his insights suggested new possibilities, his imagination was uncluttered by today, and his inventions really did emerge from the ‘future back’.”
Along with his paintings, notes, drawings and diagrams, much has been deciphered about Da Vinci’s logic, creativity, methodology, and futuristic accomplishments.
Leonardo Da Vinci is categorized as the greatest genius ever. He was a man of unquenchable curiosity with a feverishly inventive imagination. Art Historian, Helen Gardner, asserts that the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent. Gardner says Da Vinci’s “mind and personality seem to us superhuman.” Surely, this man can motivate you to be inventive and accomplish creativeness for your purpose driven pursuits.
Below, are a few simple and practical ways you can think more imaginatively, release your creative talents, and freely articulate your capabilities. These are time tested approaches that Leonardo Da Vinci taught us about creativity.
Maintain a passionate curiosity, pursue your interests, and learn continuously
Lessons about creativity from Leonardo Da Vinci’s life include maintaining curiosity and a mind that is eager to learn and observe. The need for a ravenous nosiness, spurned by intellect, and a desire to achieve extra knowledge is crucial. This underscores the necessity for welcoming intuition and discernment with a seeking, open mind. In order for curiosity to stimulate creativity, it must be insatiable with an unrestricted imagination and varied incentives.
With an unquenchable ‘need to know’ you will begin to probe yourself, and constantly ask questions about why things exist as they do. Can they be different? How they can be improved? Peter Fisk comments:
“Asking why is always a better starting point than asking how, understanding the context is a more useful place to understand a problem than the symptoms themselves, and developing a better product starts by understanding what people seek to do with it, rather than what it actually is.”
Continuous learning (via books, experiments, dialogues, etc.) forms an enlightened mind, as well as a sound mental fitness for thinking outside the box and above the status quo. Leonardo Da Vinci revealed how passionate curiosity manifests itself by frequent visits to unusual places. This helps us understand other approaches and identify problem-solving techniques. Additionally, individuals with impassioned curiosity always keep writing pads nearby for immediately recording queries, insights, and fresh concepts.
Get in touch with your senses, listen well, and be observant
An unyielding appetite to acquire more knowledge precedes a voracious curiosity. In turn, this provokes an enhanced hearing ability with sharpening of the senses for careful and persistent observations. People, designs, methods, and events all around are scrutinized. Leonardo da Vinci was able to generate masterpieces and make great scientific discoveries because of how he viewed the world around him. What he saw caused him to re-evaluate, transforming engineering and scientific theories in the process.
Faisal Hoque and Drake Baer disclose that Da Vinci’s “core skill and greatest passion was observation… His emphasis on observation was so great that he would reconceive the way we perceive perception.” In Leonardo Da Vinci’s opinion, observation is the foundation for creativity since it provides the greater framework, reasoning capacity, and viewpoint. Observe the commonplace and the ordinary. Observe real people, their conversations, appearances, body language, and behaviors. Observe plants, animals, the heavens, and even yourself.
Ruminate, ponder, and analyze the meaning or the value of what you see. Allow these observations to revolutionize you. Your senses will become fine-tuned and heightened causing you to have a greater understanding, as well as looking wider and deeper at matters. You will listen fervently and decode your findings more expertly. With heretofore unknown facts, you will reason above others and turn ideas into sound problem resolutions. Aggressive curiosity, better listening, and fixated observations lead to greater expertise, vitalized judgment, awesome creativity, and innovation.
Envision and contemplate things differently using well-balanced logic and imagination
Leonardo Da Vinci’s thought processes exceeded that of his peers. He deliberated more progressively, was more unbiased, and did unusual things like combining opposites (ie: art and science, man and machines). Consequently, he was able to observe opposing platforms simultaneously, identify similarities between them, and radically blend the resultant data and statistics while also trusting his intuition.
Da Vinci studied and visualized things using all of his brainpower in a properly balanced manner. He applied what is now termed right-brain thinking (art, imagination, creativity, imagination, intuition) and left-brain thinking (science, logic, analysis, linear). Thus, he gathered more complete information for superior acumen, follow-through, and implementation.
Combining logic and imagination is challenging, exciting, and constructive. The use of mind-mapping will help you to organize your thoughts and generate more ideas in less time. Entertaining different vantage points and opinions permits you to see opportunity from other angles (e.g. see a client as a mentor, competitor, supporter, and marketer). Simply seeing things differently, without conventional preconceptions, positioned Leonardo Da Vinci far ahead of his time.
Think and dream big
Thinking and dreaming big involves reaching beyond what is commonly known by other people. It involves abandoning what is familiar and foreseeable. It’s about thinking from the future back, rather than from here to the future. This unlocks boundless possibilities for creative intelligence, and for finding the very best opportunities with endless potential, with no ceilings and with no bias versus just the better ones. Leonardo Da Vinci teaches that mingling with the grander world, thinking big before you start thinking small, properly orders the details of creativity.
First, utilize your artistic instincts to find new opportunities working backwards. Next, analyze them. When you have formed a novel concept, thoroughly assess it. Substantiate your premises, test them, and ascertain how best to develop your theory. Execute your idea in a way that has not previously been accomplished.
Determine what product(s) or service(s) you will create, how you will introduce and market it, and to whom. Present these bigger ideas to the right people in a rational and organized fashion. This assures you a better chance of sharing your creative solutions and garnering support for them.
Look for patterns and new connections
Reflecting on the future first yields a larger image for observing patterns and new connections. Leonardo da Vinci believed that all things are interrelated. He believed everything connects. He taught that you should look for patterns, rationales, parallels, intersections, and fall-outs relative to your concerns.
Discard existing assumptions by creating fresh strategies in your mind. According to Michael Michalko, a highly-acclaimed creativity expert and author, “The metaphors that Leonardo formed by forcing connections between two totally unrelated subjects moved his imagination with a vengeance.” Discover what other companies, areas, or fields can offer that share comparable challenges. Consider how dissimilar things can be paralleled, and how they might be combined to make a totally different item.
Use reverse brainstorming to get creative answers. Pick an idea or product and merge it with something entirely arbitrary. Itemize the attributes of both, and then connect them. Ask pointed questions, evaluating them from different perspectives. Meet with individuals who have complementary interests in totally different markets and observe what they have to offer. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, look for ideas. Look for patterns and connections to the project you are working on.
Seek out points of view different from your own
In other words, get ideas from other people. Michael Gelb, author, creativity and innovation consultant, recognizes:
“It’s a myth to think that you have to spontaneously create something that’s entirely original and no one ever thought of it before. That very rarely, if ever, happens. Almost all ideas are inspired by somebody else’s idea.”
Gelb also states:
“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you just give it a new spin. So if you can give a new spin to somebody else’s idea, you’ve done something creative.”
If you concentrate only on one viewpoint, you will severely jeopardize your creativity. Working smart means having a dialogue with others and considering opinions unlike your own. By spending more time with persons in your designated population, you will learn much regarding their necessities, yearnings, incentives, and visions. Try to find improbability in everything you discover.
Talk with anybody and everybody that can offer you intellectual feedback. Speak with professors, barbers, executives, coaches, analysts, engineers, accountants, and potential customers – the list goes on and on. Work with these people to compile fresh thoughts, evaluate them, and generate vital services or products. See your projects through their slants. Nevertheless, carefully scrutinize these viewpoints before finalizing a conclusion. Always maintain your independence and think for yourself.
Project confidence in the face of the unknown
To quote Frank Goble, “The creative person is flexible; he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are.” Leonardo Da Vinci exercised a willingness to accept ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty, giving his work a certain mystique. The context of creativity is that YOU WILL be disconcerted at times. There will be fuzziness, mystery, and indecision before creative ideas materialize.
Frequently, you’ll have to employ what’s called the Socratic Method and interrogate without having clear answers in mind. Creativity encompasses the ability to express confidence even when causes and effects are unidentified. It involves conceiving designs, testing them, breaking rules, taking risks, and making mistakes too. Mull over true life, its deeper meaning, complications, and probabilities, to maintain confidence and poise. This suggests that being a philosopher and a pseudo-scientist are fundamental.
Projecting confidence in the face of the unknown is aided by rationalizing from the future, back to the current time. It also involves focusing on what you want and how you will get there from where you are at the present moment. This helps sort out reservations, reduce threats, and overcome anxieties. It liberates you from debilitating constraints that generate inconsistencies. It empowers you to achieve clarification and create solutions.
To project confidence in the face of the unknown, don’t ask people what’s good or what they want. Instead, spotlight what’s not so good, what’s frustrating, and the reason why. Critically analyze the feedback until you find dominant inconsistencies with previously identified needs or in the solutions available to them. This will shed light on the unknown and help you engender the best resolutions.
Take courageous action
Courageous action is converting visions into useful enterprises.
“Whilst much of his interpretation was intuitive, [Leonardo Da Vinci] saw analysis as supporting hypothesis, needing to make a leap of faith before proving it. He supported his proofs with repeated experimentation, and only after such rigor did he trust his conclusions. He also found that new ideas often arose through deeper analysis and testing, and often took him closer to the origins of phenomena.”
Taking courageous action is another necessary step that Da Vinci taught about creativity. Get up and make things happen, even though there are still holes in your assumptions. Draw pictures and put them on a vision board. These images will help you capture principal ideas with a visual record of the evolving designs. Make models. Create hypothetical situations for investigation. Test and challenge each premise. Apply each one to real life situations, if possible, and prudently evaluate the consequences.
Whether your subject matter is a product or a service, consider the value and benefit it offers. Does it satisfactorily solve defined problems for yourself or for your client? Will it bring customer satisfaction? Will your personal objectives be met? Think about who your competition would be. How do you measure up against it? What is the real supply and demand? Is your price sufficient to meet your requirements? Replies to these type of questions propel your creativity to winning levels.
Admit and learn from your blunders
Creativity is conceding that you will make errors. No one is perfect, so lose your fear of making slip-ups. It’s going to happen; expect it. Learning to acknowledge your errors and mature from them are leading creativity strategies. For certain, Leonardo Da Vinci made huge blunders in his lifetime. Not only did he teach creativity skills, but he also taught that making mistakes is human and acceptable. New things are learned and creativity is achieved all by trial and error… with bloopers and blunders.
Da Vinci’s most famous mistake occurred when he decided to paint The Last Supper with a new painting technique that he’d developed “using oil based paints on a base that he applied to the wall. However, problems began to show up soon after the painting was finished. The base began to separate from the wall…Over the years, there have been many attempts to restore The Last Supper. Although his beautiful design has been preserved, much of the original painting done by Leonardo himself is now gone. Still, it remains one of the most admired works of art in the world. Not bad at all for a mistake.”
The moral of this true story is that you must examine your own opinions and judgments, and be amenable to other approaches. When you make a mistake, confess it. Learn where the error(s) occurred, how to fix it, and how to avoid repeating it. Learn from your failures, as well as from those of other people. Creativity is hard work that requires discipline and perseverance. Make it count.
Balance your mind and body – live life to the fullest
For top creativity endeavors, health and fitness are essential. A healthy body facilitates a sharp and productive mind. Make time for regular physical training. Da Vinci’s biographer, Giorgio Vasari, noted “the gifts that Leonardo possessed seemed unlimited, standing to all areas of human knowledge and skill.” In addition to being one of the most creative masterminds’ to ever have lived, he was also a skilled fencer and horseman. Da Vinci was an extraordinary athlete, commonly branded as the strongest man in Florence.
Engage in total body fitness – spiritual, physical and mental. You’ll feel better, sleep better, look better, and create better. Amend your standards and habits. Make spontaneous plans and social activities. Add some consistent fun and relaxation to your agenda. Allow yourself to enjoy a full, productive, and exhilarating life.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s life as an artistic thinker provides inspiration and ageless lessons for personal and professional innovations. These teachings supply motivation and actions for achieving wisdom, creativity, and success. Follow them and become a well-rounded individual, capable of realizing maximum creative astuteness.
Featured photo credit: DailyMail.co.uk via i.dailymail.co.uk