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February 1, 2019

7 Steps to Think like Leonardo da Vinci – by Michael Gelb

  1.  Curiosity – An insatiable curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning. Interestingly, I have found a term at only one place on the Internet. The term is “intellectual curiosity;” and I have seen it only on Stanford University’s website. Also, of note is the motto of Harvard University, “Veritas,” meaning the search for truth. Great university’s place a premium on students, faculty and scholars that excel academically, ask compelling questions and search for answers that solve the world’s most perplexing problems.
    1. We spend so much time trying to find the right answers. More important is to ask the “right questions” (often probing, well thought out and perplexing questions).
    2. Independent Thinking – A commitment to test knowledge through experience, scientific research and a willingness to make and learn from mistakes. Too often people take unimportant situations and ask the wrong questions. Then they draw important conclusions that are based on emotions, biases and prejudices. Better to ask questions that are logical, critical and evidence-based. Born with a logical, left-brain, our needs are best served by using its rational thinking ability.
      1. Wise is the person that critically examines his own work, his opinions, his assumptions and beliefs, and that of others.
  1. Refine Your Senses – The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as a means to clarify our experiences. The art of wine tasting through gazing and swirling (visual sense), smelling (nasal olfaction sense) and tasting (sour, bitter, sweet) is one example as to enhance the senses.
    1. Practice Silence: spend a whole day in nature, walking in the woods, hiking in the mountains, strolling by the sea, not talking, just listening. This ‘verbal fasting’ strengthens your ability to listen deeply and is wonderfully refreshing for the spirit.
    2. Study the Masters: Study the lives and work of your favorite artists for a week, three months or a year. This is another tool to improve the senses.
    3. Taste Your Food: Eat slowly, smell the vegetables, fruits and meats as they pass in front of the nose and over the various regions of the tongue.
  1. Embrace Uncertainty – Live in the moment and accept your fate. Be willing to embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty. It is best to appreciate and accept that you cannot control the weather, your health, your wealth and the actions or criticisms of others; and that this is okay. Pessimism is not a healthy virtue. Optimism is. Nothing great was ever accomplished focusing on the negative or having an unnaturally negative or fearful outlook.
    1. List and briefly describe three situations from your life where ambiguity reigns.
  1. Whole-Brain Thinking – The development of the balance between science and art; logic and imagination.
    1. Was da Vinci an artist who studied science, or a scientist who studied art? Clearly, he was both, giving support to why many colleges base the foundation of teaching on a strong liberal arts education.
    2. Use Mind Mapping as a tool to improve:
      1. Productivity
      2. Creativity
      3. Memory
      4. Comprehension
  1. Mind and Body Health, Fitness – The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, health, fitness and poise.
    1. “It is also a very good plan every now and then to go away and have a little relaxation; for when you come back to work your judgement will be surer.” Da Vinci
      1. Healthy habits prevent certain health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
  1. Systems Thinking – The recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena. For example, it is valid to make the assumption that not just doctors and nurses, but patients, administrators, family, janitors, cooks, counselors, legislators and scientists all have a responsibility for improving the health of individual patients and the community as a whole.
    1. This is the understanding that all things are connected, and interdependent. In other words, for patients as individuals and for the health of society in general, the appreciation that doctors must work together. Departments must work together. Hospitals and hospital systems must work together. Governments and the private sector must work in collaboration for all to reap the greatest benefits.