The da Vinci Pause

If you have followed Chet or any of the other Builders on this Blog site then I am sure at some point you have seen the name of Leonardo da Vinci, the genius of all time. AND the number one point that the reader is directed to, is one of the key attributes that scholars believe is what made da Vinci the Genius of all time, his Insatiable CURIOSITY!

We (BTL) have an exercise that we like to use in practices that introduces teams to the 7 da Vincian Principles that were introduced in the book, “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael J. Gelb. This exercise is always fun, interesting and it’s one small step in helping teams to look back in history and gain a little perspective. I would highly recommend this book to you to learn more about the 7 da Vincian Principles.

I have read many books about Leonardo da Vinci and had the privilege of viewing pages from his journals at one of the great Library’s of the world, the New York Library. Seeing first hand, drawings that he made in his journals over 500 years ago (Renaissance 1470) and the famous drawings of his flying machines, a design resembling a helicopter and a parachute design, was a trip I will never forget.

Recently, they announced that Walter Isaacsons new book was soon to be released and his subject was non other than Leonardo da Vinci. I wasted no time and put it on order from Amazon. I received it last week and I won’t kid you, it is a huge epic read but as only Isaacson can do, deeply researched and full of interesting facts.

Then today I was reading one of my favorite Blogs, Study Hacks, by Cal Newport and he is in the process of reading this biography, Leonardo da Vinci, and offered this exchange that took place in an interview with Walter Isaacson and I think it captures the essence of what we must cultivate in our own lives.

So how did da Vinci end up a creative genius still revered 500 years later? Here’s Isaacson’s explanation:

“What he was able to do is pause, and put things aside, and look at very ordinary things and marvel at them.”

In this observation about a past figure is a powerful suggestion for grappling with the endless information deluging our current moment. Technologies like the internet provide everyone the raw material to become a renaissance person, but to take advantage of this reality it helps to cultivate da Vinci’s ability to pause when something catches your attention, and to then give it the intense, deep concentration needed to transform a fleeting spark into something more substantial.

Thank you Cal Newport for reminding us ALL what we need more of….. time to think, time to reflect, time to plan, time to be more curious, time for what is truly important, time to listen, time for the deep work, time for a friend, time for family, time for…….The da Vinci Pause!

4 thoughts on “The da Vinci Pause

    1. Thank You Sully! I can picture you now… front of the fireplace, it’s a cold Mich. Lake night and you’re taking time to find the space between the notes……and the winter freeze!!

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